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Ignatius "Sonny" Miano, under investigation on allegations of mishandling thousands of dollars donated to the shuttered Helping Hands soup kitchen, now is under scrutiny for how he spent thousands of dollars from an inheritance left to his mentally disabled nephew.

Miano faces the possible loss of guardianship of Glenn R. Griffin, now 39, and control of any money left from Griffin's inheritance from Louise M. Miano, Miano's mother and Griffin's grandmother, who died Jan. 28, 1988.

Erie County Surrogate Joseph S. Mattina is expected to issue the guardianship decision Monday.

Miano, who was forced to resign as director of the soup kitchen and pantry at 283 Massachusetts Ave. in April 1998 after financial irregularities were uncovered by The Buffalo News, moved to Pompano Beach, Fla., the following October with his wife and nephew.

He returned to Buffalo with his nephew two weeks ago, hoping to collect the proceeds from the sale of a $102,000 house in Snyder that legally belonged to Griffin.

Miano had parlayed a modest West Side home left to Griffin by his grandmother into the Snyder home.

Dennis J. Dee, an attorney appointed by Mattina to serve as temporary guardian of Griffin's assets, told the surrogate the property transactions "were more to enhance the personal surroundings of Sonny Miano than for the well-being of Glenn Griffin."

Dee said Miano failed to make mortgage payments on the Cloister Court home after leaving Buffalo and the bank holding the first mortgage had to initiate foreclosure proceedings.

Papers filed with Surrogate Court indicate that, just before leaving for Florida, Miano, without the court's permission, took out a $24,000 second mortgage on the Snyder home through a California lender. Those papers were signed by Miano and Griffin.

After the two mortgages and other expenses were paid, Griffin's inheritance and settlement money had dwindled to $26,000.

The surrogate ordered all assets frozen pending an investigation of Miano's use of his nephew's money.

Mattina placed Griffin in the temporary custody of People Inc., a non-profit agency for the developmentally disabled, and directed the agency to evaluate him.

At Monday's hearing, Susan Barlow, guardianship administrator for People Inc., submitted an report saying Griffin was in good health but, because of other personal problems, "there seems to be a lot of conflict mostly between Mr. and Mrs. Miano in the home. . . . Glenn could benefit from a residential placement."

Mattina also was mindful of the soup kitchen investigation now being conducted by the Erie County district attorney's office.

That case is expected to go to a grand jury within several weeks, according to John Dosher, assistant district attorney.

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