EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Borderland community gathered in support of Douglas “Buddy” Barker, owner of Buddy’s Beer Barn who suffered a stroke in December and was placed under a guardianship against his will, according to his business partners, but his brother claims he is being taken advantage of.
Justin Duckett, Barker’s business partner, organized today’s event under a slogan #Letbuddyspeak to bring attention to the guardianship Barker was placed under reportedly against his will.
Barker suffered a stroke in December of 2022 that left him impaired of speaking and writing, having minimal ability of communication.
“Right now we’re trying to raise awareness and put a little bit of pressure to help him actually be seen in court and have his fair due process of it,” Duckett said.
In his initial interview, Duckett explained that Barker had his phone and all means of communication taken away and that it was the state courts’ decision to put him under such a restriction.
Duckett said he wanted the community to show their support and help Barker get out of this guardianship.
Not long after the interview with Duckett and some supporters, KTSM was contacted by Robert Barker, Barker’s only living sibling.
Barker’s brother explained that he was the one who requested the guardianship over his brother as he was not able to take care of himself after the stroke.
“All this let Buddy speak stuff, I’m just I’m dazed by it because my brother’s stroke was severe. He cannot speak. All he can do is make gibberish. He can’t write. Even though I’ve been helping him with speech and the writing all the time,” Barker’s brother said.
He came to El Paso from Tyler, Texas in December to take care of Barker and stayed for two months living in a motel room.
During this time, he said, he initiated the guardianship request to make sure his brother’s properties and assets were protected.
He explained he wanted to create a trust fund that would pay for Barker’s medical and living expenses as he now requires a full-time caretaker.
When he first arrived, Barker’s brother learned that Duckett had power of attorney over Barker, having been signed off prior to his stroke.
Further investigating, his brother explained, he also found out that Barker had written a new will in the presence of an attorney and Duckett, stating that he will leave all of his assets, including Buddy’s Beer Barn and multimillion dollar property, to Duckett.
In the interview following the conversation with Barker’s brother, Duckett told KTSM that the brother was estranged from Barker for almost 20 years and that they had rekindled last year, prior to Barker’s stroke.
Barker’s brother also said he read in Barker’s journal missing almost $400,000 from his account and confronting Duckett about it.
KTSM asked Duckett about the missing money to which he responded: “All of Doug’s decisions. Doug did. That’s why it’s let Buddy speak. It’s the chance for Doug to be able to speak on his own behalf.”
Barker’s brother said Barker and his late wife who died in 2020, dedicated their life to their businesses, especially Buddy’s Beer Barn. He said he now wants to make sure their legacy does not fall into the wrong hands.
After Barker’s wife’s death, Barker went into a business partnership with Duckett, the brother explained, but he was not aware to which extent.
He also said Duckett provided Barker with drugs such as marijuana and mushrooms.
“[The brother] made claims that there were drugs used to manipulate Doug and different things that way and asking Doug which is why everything has been about letting Buddy speak because Doug has a chance to finally say, ‘Hey, this is how I set it up. This is how I wanted it set up and this is how he wanted it to continue going forward,’” Duckett said.
After two months of looking after Barker, his brother ended up getting hospitalized himself for several weeks.
Being unable to care for himself, his daughters drove him back to Tyler and he requested from the courts to immediately assign a guardian on his behalf to make sure his brother is protected.
“It sounds like somebody put him in a mental institution or something against his will, and they’re loading him up on Thorazine or something. That’s the impression you get. But he’s in a very good health care facility, which has been doing a really good job with him. He’s making progress physically,” the brother said.
With the guardianship, the brother explained, his business partners cannot communicate with Barker.
He is only able to communicate with his immediate family while the investigation is ongoing, his brother explained.
Duckett said he will continue fighting for Barker’s right to speak for himself.
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