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Holland man protests $47,000 bill from the state

Posted at 6:28 PM, Aug 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-11 00:00:20-04

HOLLAND, Mich. -- Anyone driving down 9th Street in Holland has likely seen the signs in front of Fred Martin Jr.'s home.

Martin erected several signs on his lawn after the state sent him a bill for $47,000. The state said his deceased daughter's estate owes $47,000. Martin is over his daughter estate. The home he lives in belonged to his daughter.

He fears the debt will make him homeless.

Martin depends on a tracheal tube to breathe. He has a hard time speaking.
He eats through a feeding tube attached to his stomach and takes several medications daily.
Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999, Martin's health has steadily declined.

holland signsHowever, he spent part of that time taking care of his ailing daughter.

"My daughter worked all her life. The last job she worked 24 years," Martin explained.

His daughter, Margaret Goen, fell ill in 2007. She was diagnosed with
Pick's disease. It's "a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive destruction of nerve cells in the brain."

Martin said he moved into his daughter's home (his current home) and took
care of her until her death last October.

Goen also received medicaid assistance, and as the signs on his front lawn indicate, he said the state
wants $47,000 of that money back.

Again, Martin is now over his daughter's estate. The most expensive item to her name is her home (his current home).

"I got no money. I'm a sick man. I guess I'll be homeless, wouldn't I?" Martin said.

Drivers can read Martin's message. He said he saved the state hundreds of thousands of dollars by not placing his daughter in a nursing home.

In probate court documents, the Michigan Department of Community Health states that Goen was a recipient of Medicaid assistance.
Under state and federal law, the state is "required to recover certain amounts paid under the medicaid program from the estate
of the deceased."

That amount in Goen's case is $47,536 and some change.

FOX 17 spoke with the Michigan Department of Community Health spokesperson by phone.
We were told they will look into this specific case.

Martin said the attorney general's office served him notice regarding the debt. A spokesperson for the attorney general's office said she will also look into the case.

Mr. Martin said he will continue his protest until the issue is resolved.