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Tarentum woman worried about $1 million trust fund

| Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009

Olivia Phillips has been suspicious for years about how the couple who adopted her grandchildren spent the orphans' $1 million trust.

"We're not allowed to speak or talk to the kids," Phillips, 69, of Tarentum said Friday. "My impression is that they're using the money for their own gain."

An Allegheny County judge this week froze assets of trustees Daniel Pompa, a Cranberry chiropractor, and his wife, Merily Pompa, at the request of prosecutors, who are investigating possible theft from the trust, according to court papers filed in Orphan's Court. No charges have been filed in the case.

Merily Pompa declined to comment yesterday.

The Pompas gained guardianship of the children after their father, Leslie John Young, 50, fatally shot their mother, Lisa Young, 40, and himself in Florida in 2003. Lisa Young was Phillips' daughter and Merily Pompa's cousin.

Phillips said friction between her and the Pompas resulted in the children — now 13 — not being allowed to see their grandmother since May.

"I not only lost my daughter but I lost my grandchildren, too," Phillips said.

After the murder-suicide, a Florida judge ordered all of the Youngs' assets placed in a trust for the children, to be maintained until they turn 30, according to an affidavit filed by county investigators. Leslie Young owned a landscaping company in Sarasota, Fla., and Phillips said the couple owned numerous properties, including in the Florida Keys.

Withdrawals from the trust by the Pompas detailed in the affidavit include $250,000 for a Seven Springs condo and $230,000 for Cranberry property, and have left the trust with as little as $80,000.

Phillips said there are four trusts set up for the children and that prosecutors only started checking into one of the funds. She did not know the total amount in the trusts but estimated the Youngs could have had as much as $10 million before debts were paid.

"We trusted Dan and Merily would do the right thing — raise those children and invest that money," she said.

Property records show the Pompas sold their home in Oakmont in 2005 for $260,000. Eleven months before that, the couple bought a $760,000 home in Pine. They sold that house in April 2007 and bought a Cranberry home for $1.3 million in June 2006, property records show.

In September, Phillips sued the Pompas in Manatee County, Fla., requesting an audit of the trust. The case is pending.

Phillips said her daughter initially designated her as guardian of the children and trustee in her will. But Lisa Young changed the will a few years before her death because she was leaving for a ski trip and Phillips was in the hospital.

"It was a hurry-up will and she named Merily and Danny as the executor, guardian and trustee," Phillips said. "Lisa was discussing making a change back but it was never done."

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