Betraying A Hero

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He was one of the first paramedics who got sick trying to help infected COVID patients. But after Gordon Baker died, you won’t believe how his former fire department betrayed this hero, and his family. We love our first responders, but not what these ones did.

It was a hero’s tribute, full honors for a paramedic who died in the line of duty.

Gordon Baker Sr., the second first responder to die in the Houston area from COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic.

We saw a “show of respect” by his department, Harris County Emergency Services District 48, ESD-48.

What you don’t see is how ESD-48 was disrespecting this hero’s final wishes behind the scenes.

“I have been crushed for the past three years trying to deal with this,” said Brent Baker.

This is Gordon Brent Baker Jr., the fallen hero’s son.

And he is finally confronting ESD-48 board members who turned their back on him for more than three years.

Brent is the only beneficiary named in his dad’s will, but in a bizarre twist ESD-48 decided without any legal reason to help give Gordon’s property and benefits, hundreds of thousands of dollars to a man who claimed he was Gordon’s gay partner.

“It’s painful. I can’t imagine somebody thinking they can go and change beneficiary information to somebody who is a nobody,” expressed Brent Baker.

62-year-old Gordon Baker was a paramedic for 30 years. The epitome of a first responder. A hero.

“If anybody ever needed anything they would always ask and he would, you know, always help. You know, anybody he could,” said Brent Baker.

Gordon caught covid helping infected patients and he was hospitalized.

“I immediately broke down,” recalled Baker.

But Gordon Jr. was dealing with his own crisis, his wife Amanda had her second health battle with leukemia.

“Gordon told him don’t come because we don’t have a vaccine. Texas covid cases are through the roof,”
said Amanda Baker.

Sadly, Gordon’s condition went downhill.

“He said, look, if anything happens, I have a safe. This is the combination. I have everything that I want done in that safe,” recalled Brent Baker.

Gordon assigned a friend, Robert Spears, to have medical power of attorney.

“He had a relationship with Robert Spears from the late 90s, like 97, 8, to about 2001ish. Then they broke it off,” recalled Amanda Baker.

Spears had moved back into Gordon’s house to be a full-time caregiver to Gordon’s sister, Glenda. But there’s no evidence they had become a couple again. Even after Glenda died, family says Spears was not a boyfriend.

He wasn’t. He was somebody that never left. He wouldn’t leave,” said Amanda Barker.

Gordon went on life support, completely incapacitated and his family says that’s when spears saw an opportunity to get rich off Gordon’s benefits.

“Oh my god, I’m sick to my stomach. I can only imagine what my dad would be saying. It hurts,” expressed Brent Baker.

Get this, Spears somehow convinced Methodist Hospital doctors to take Gordon off life support because he wanted a quick wedding ceremony.

“They actually tried to do it. They weaned my dad off of medicine, and my dad had a major panic attack, tried to rip tubes out. Then they immediately had to re-sedate him because of the shock that it put him in just to even consider trying to do that,” said Brent Baker.

There was no ceremony, but Methodist Hospital medical records went from indicating Gordon was single, to showing that consent for all this was given by a spouse.

When Gordon had been on life support a full month and the hospital was saying it was time to end it, Spears can be heard asking for more time. But why?

“Can we have like a day to talk about this? Can we have a month,” said Robert Spears in a phone call with Methodist Hospital.

And who did they interview after Gordon died? The guy who was claiming he was Gordon’s gay partner.

“He taught me a lot about the medical field, the EMS type, emergency situations, how to act, what to do and what not to do,” said Robert Spears in an interview.

Without any legal authorization we can find, Spears tried to take control of Gordon’s bank account.

Look at the bank records, Spears took out 1000 dollars in cash 18 times that December and 3 times on the day Gordon died.

He wrote checks even while Gordon was on life support and even after he died.

ESD-48 lowered flags to half-staff that day And then helped spread the word about Gordon’s GoFundMe account set up by an ESD-48 employee, the beneficiary was Robert Spears not the family.

But the funeral home director had an ominous warning for the family.

“She’s the one that told my husband, listen, something’s going on, she said, because they’re trying to put this guy like he’s the next of kin when legally you are. She said, I see all the documentation and there is

Despite those tears from an EMS official the family already felt betrayed.

“The whole time I’m biting my lip, I just couldn’t. I mean, it was just tears falling down my face the whole time,” recalled Brent Baker.

Brent was the sole heir of his father’s estate, but they were even being kept out of his father’s house by ESD-48 employee named Kim Shull.

She no longer works for ESD-48 and is now sorry for what she did.

“I thought I was being a friend. Now I just feel like I’ve Been seriously taken advantage of,” said Kim Schull.

Taken advantage by a guy who claimed a relationship without evidence to prove it.

“It was in no way like a spouse, a spousal situation,” stated Kim Schull.

But Kim bought Spears but now she tells us she knew all along what the truth really was, but she went along when spears made this bizarre claim.

“He could not give permission to take Gordon off the ventilator until he had taken so much money out of his account. That sounded kind of fishy to me,” said Kim Schull.

“I just want to say that I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated and heartbroken… And told them please, I don’t know what’s going on. We haven’t got any benefits yet, but the employees are harassing us. Like extorting us. They’ve stole things out of Gordon’s home,” said Amanda Baker.

Walla Almasri was the human resources director at ESD-48. She doesn’t work there anymore either.

“On the paperwork, everything says to his son. He paid attention to who the beneficiary was and I know that the paperwork, everything stated the son’s name is beneficiary,” said Walla Almasri.

But Ray Sidwell, who is still the assistant fire chief of administration at ESD-48 apparently decided he wanted this alleged domestic partner to get some of the money.

“And he was upset that everything was left to the son, and he said that that was unfair. It should be to his partner, Bob. And I remember telling him that it’s none of your like you need to take your biases out of it,” said Walla Almasri.

We investigated the possible bias. We know from Harris County appraisal records that Sidwell co-owns a house with another guy, who claims on his Facebook page he’s in a domestic relationship.

“We’re over $200,000 worth of attorney fees. Every benefit that he’s received, which is just the federal benefit and even the life insurance. Everything is going to Gordon’s funeral or legal expenses or to maintain Gordon’s property,” states Amanda Baker.

And Robert Spears, there’s evidence he tried to get Aflac disability payments when Gordon was on life support and clearly not improving.

The GoFundMe raised more than $11,000 that Robert Spears got, but he won’t tell us how he spent it.

The family says he never paid for any of the funeral expenses.

But he did apply for social security as a spouse but was denied.  

And he wasn’t paying the mortgage on the house. He sold a lot of Gordon’s furniture it took the family a small fortune to get him evicted.

“Finally, once we evicted him, he left the house in such a disarray with bleach on the carpet and feces and just a bunch of mess. I mean, it was terrible. And the fire department helped him move out,” said Brent Baker.

“I live in North Carolina now because of everything that happened with the case that you are talking about,” said Robert Spears.

After a brief phone call spears broke a promise to do an on-camera interview.

Four months after Gordon died, Brent and Amanda mediated a settlement with Spears. But after uncovering what they say was alleged fraud, they filed a lawsuit.

The judge was Jerry Simoneaux. He’s openly gay and tried to block the eviction of Spears. The family believes that cost them tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary court delays. But the family has asked if his sexual orientation made him more sympathetic to Spears.

Judge Simoneaux told us he couldn’t comment about pending cases, but after three years why is there even a court case anymore? Instead, there should be a criminal investigation.

And I’ve had some choice words for the folks at ESD-48.

“You should call for an investigation an internal investigation to determine whether or not this community, the taxpayers were cheated by Mr. Spears,” said Wayne Dolcefino in speech to ESD-48.

But its Gordon’s grandson whose tears should have moved the ESD-48 board, it’s shameful that it didn’t.

“I’m upset that I didn’t get to live through 3 years of my childhood because I’ve been having to fly for 3 years,” cried Preston Baker.

He missed sports and other activities because of the travel and trauma his parents had to deal with.

The Bakers have filed complaints with the financial crimes division of the Harris County sheriff’s office and very little has happened. We’re going to call that out too.

ESD-48, they sent the family a bill for more than $20,000 to pay for the funeral. But why? Wasn’t this a line of duty death?

“It makes me wonder why we have these laws, but yet nobody wants to do anything about it when somebody breaks them,” said Brent Baker.

That’s why they came to us. They didn’t want to be called homophobic, but it was hard to ignore all the connections.

“And we kept having the faith that somebody would do the right thing, and we didn’t need to air everything out. You know, we didn’t want to do that to people, but they had no shame in what they were doing to us,” said Amanda Baker.

Their time to grieve the loss of their father was destroyed by what sure looks like a cover up to us.

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