Friday, September 24, 2021
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed papers Wednesday seeking to dismiss a lawsuit in a family feud over the care and finances of her 88-year-old father because he has died.
“William O. Fitch departed this life on September 22, 2021,” the attorney general wrote in the court papers filed that day in Marshall County Chancery Court.
Lynn Fitch has been in a court dispute with her 80-year-old stepmother, Aleita Fitch.
Chancery court records show Aleita Fitch filed a lawsuit against Lynn Fitch on April 1. That was after the attorney general moved her father from an Oxford hospital in late March without his wife’s permission to another hospital before finally transferring him to a nursing home, said Aleita Fitch's attorney, Ray Hill. Aleita Fitch was not able to visit her husband for 78 days and did not know where he was, Hill said.
An obituary for Bill Fitch on the Holly Springs Funeral Home website Thursday initially did not list Aleita Fitch among the family members, but her name was added later.
Hill said the attorney general sent state “bodyguards” unannounced to Aleita Fitch's home, the family farm and the hospital where Bill Fitch was being treated, and they took money, firearms and personal belongings from the house without permission.
Lynn Fitch said in court documents that she did not want her stepmother knowing where Bill Fitch was being treated because Aleita Fitch was emotionally and verbally abusive.
John Mayo, the attorney general’s personal lawyer, said the decision to move him was made after consulting her father’s physician. A hospital staffer filed a vulnerable adult complaint against Aleita Fitch after voicing concerns about her mistreatment of her husband, the lawyer said.
When Lynn Fitch visited her father in the hospital, “he appeared confused, delirious and malnourished, had limited mobility, and was generally unable to care for himself,” the attorney general’s lawyer wrote in a court document.
She said Aleita Fitch failed to tell her and her sister about a stroke and heart attack their father had in January. Bill Fitch also was diagnosed with dementia, and that was not disclosed to his daughters.
Aleita Fitch said Lynn Fitch had been making business decisions for her husband, including the decision to shut down operations at Fitch Farms, a hunting retreat where guests can stay in the home of Confederate general and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Bill Fitch purchased the Forrest home in Hernando, moved it 40 miles (64 kilometers) to Fitch Farms and restored it.
Lynn Fitch said in court documents she did not seek sole control over her father’s finances but wanted a conservator appointed to prevent Aleita Fitch's “squandering and endangerment” of assets.