He had promised the University of Florida a check for up to $2 million. But a day before the grand gala organized in his honor, university officials refused the check. And they began to understand that documentary director Jo Franklin had created a complex and complex castle of lies that had been going on for years. In fact, everyone around her was convinced that her life was going for the best: the success as a director specializing in the Middle East, the great economic results, the prestigious awards. But the reality was completely different: the woman actually lived in extreme poverty. Sometimes she spent nights in the parking lot of a hotel in South Florida, and in some cases she was even arrested. One count of theft of wine valued at $11.98. His story goes back several years and is told by the Wall Street Journal.
“She is very sick and we need to get her to a medical facility before she harms other people and herself,” George Franklin, Jo's younger brother, told other family members a few days after learning of the 2014 gala fiasco had. Jo Franklin was 68 years old at the time and had already broken off contact with everyone. These include the children Ashley and Hugh, who were born from her marriage to a surgeon. The legacy of a life full of inspiration and creativity: Jo had made documentaries and written novels and achieved some success with them. But in the information available to his family there is a gap of about twenty years that he spent in California.
What is certain is that she divorced her husband there, rented a Jaguar XJ6 and accumulated more than $150,000 in debt. In 2013, she was evicted from the home she had rented for five years in Santa Ynez, California because she stopped paying rent. What saved her were some friends she had met over the years who, with her brother's complicity, after understanding her state of mind, convinced her to stay in an apartment. They had explained to her that they needed someone to look after her for free (when in reality it was George who paid the rent every month). So Jo was able to spend the last years of her life relatively calmly: she died of arterial disease shortly before her 77th birthday. “He hurt so many people,” Franklin’s son said. Still, it's difficult not to conclude that “no one was a greater victim than she was,” he added.
Cover photo: Wall Street Journal