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Sundial: WLRN's latest investigation into a program selling ‘incapacitated’ people's homes to a Miami realtor reaping big gains

Express Homes bought the Hialeah home of then-85-year-old Lilia Bohne, on 5680 E. 1st Avenue, in May 2011 for $75,000. The following year it sold the house for $273,000.
Joshua Ceballos
Express Homes bought the Hialeah home of then-85-year-old Lilia Bohne, on 5680 E. 1st Avenue, in May 2011 for $75,000. In 2014, it sold the house for $273,000.

Lilia Bohne was 85 when the state decided she couldn’t take care of herself anymore.

She needed to be in a nursing home. She had no family. She was living alone.

But … she did have a home.

That’s where a guardianship program is supposed to step in. A non-profit fully funded by the government is supposed to take over the care of a person like Bohne. In some cases, they sell the home to help pay for the person’s care.

The guardianship program sold Bohne’s Hialeah house. And the company that bought her home, Express Homes, then re-sold it for more than four times the price. Bohne, who died two years later, did not receive proceeds from the resale of her property by Express Homes.

WLRN reporters Joshua Ceballos and Danny Rivero spent months looking into the Guardianship Program of Dade County for a special investigation report. And cases like Bohne’s.

On the March 7 episode of Sundial, Ceballos and Rivero joined us to talk about their findings.

We also heard about the battle over Miami Beach's iconic Art Deco buildings. WLRN reporter Verónica Zaragovia looked into the developers coming into the area to build condo towers and will pay up for pricey Art Deco building repairs — so they can make their own development nearby. Local preservationists fear this will destroy what makes Miami Beach special.

On Sundial's previous episode, we heard from Ruben Rabasa, who has been acting for over 50 years, but he finally feels like he's arrived — in his 80s. He tells us about his early life as an actor after migrating to the United States from Cuba and all the jobs he's had as a character actor from Miami Vice to Marvel.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us via text by joining our Sundial text club. Send us your thoughts, ideas or questions by texting the word “join” to 786-677-0767. You can also email us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.