UPDATE: The very brief hearing on May 4 resulted in the appointment of the Petitioner as a temporary conservator, permitting her to communicate with Joni's medical providers and to try and figure out what to do next. Joni has a court-appointed attorney, who will presumably work with the conservator with the goal of providing her the best care available. The conservator has no access to the assets of the Estate, just the power to make medical decisions on Joni's behalf, as she is not in a condition to do so, according to Dr. Paul Vespa of Cedars-Sinai. If she was, she would not need a conservator.
July is the next hearing, but we can hope that Joni starts to recover from this and will be able to make her own decisions about her welfare going into the future.
Joni Mitchell, who suffered a medical emergency in March and remains in sad shape in the ICU at Cedars-Sinai hospital, has become the subject of a recently filed Petition for Conservatorship. Which of course has riveted the attention of the media.
The Petitioner is an individual who first met Ms. Mitchell when she worked for her management team, headed by Eliot Roberts, as a secretary. Long, long ago. She claims to be a close friend of Joni's for 44 years. This claim requires a close look.
I work in probate law these days, and after a read of the Petition, some glaring errors bounced out at me. Notably, Petitioner alleges that Joni has no family. However, she does. A turbulent daughter, who she adopted out when she was 20, and a granddaughter, turning 15 this year. Still both living in Canada. The mother and child reunion was the result of a mutual search in 1997. Daily Mail report on Joni and her daughter.
Ultimately, it didn't work out.
And now, when Joni is in bad shape, the vultures begin to circle. PVP counsel, court appointed to represent Joni's interests, has been recently advised that the Petition is inaccurate prima facie, and that Joni does have family, who Petitioner has omitted from the Petition. The first hearing is on Monday.
In the spring of 1969, I got to spend an afternoon with Joni in London at the mews house of Larry Curzon, a William Morris agent who represented the Hollies. She had contacted my friend Shawn Phillips, who she knew from their days playing the New York folk clubs. Shawn was in London working on his album for A&M. So we took a taxi to Kynance Mews, and hung out with Graham and Larry, while Joni stayed upstairs. Finally, Graham went up and brought her downstairs, where she played the entire Blue album live for the four of us. Graham played rough mixes of the first two or three CSN songs. Then we split for the pub, leaving Larry to his telephone calls.
Joni and I fell back behind the boys, and we discovered that we had a mutual friend from her New York days, Jim Sherwood of the Mothers of Invention. So that was a good reference for me! We had a nice natter, as they say, and after she and Graham left for the States the next day, I wrote my first song. It was good, btw. Kris Kristofferson heard it and liked it. He said "Joni Mitchell."
Joni's life looked good on paper and sounded like heaven when recorded, but it was bought at a high emotional price.
She found it increasingly difficult to trust people. But she still has friends who want nothing from her but happiness and peace. Like it used to be.