Monday, 9 May 2016

Only 5 Tenants Remain at Park Slope's Embattled Assisted Living Facility

They've allegedly been met with decreasing services, increasing costs, and lawsuits

The nasty battle over the fate of the nursing home on a prized corner of Prospect Park trudges forward, this time spurred by a piece of reporting by the Associated Press. Only five residents, women aged 91 to 101, remain in the once-teeming facility at the corner of Union Street and Prospect Park West.

Landlord Haysha Deitsch began proceedings to sell the property to a developer for $76.5 million in 2013, after purchasing it for $40 million in 2006. What's transpired in the time since Deitsch's announcement has been a maelstrom of accusations of neglect and lawsuits from both sides of the aisle.

The Associated Press piece follows several of the remaining residents who are fighting for their right to stay in the facility. "I think we have that right to do what we want to do," 93-year-old resident Annemarie Mogul told the AP. "I've earned my rest. I worked hard. I deserve my peace."

Peace has been hard to come by in the days since Deitsch announced his plans to sell to a developer with plans to convert the property into condos. Remaining residents have accused Deitsch of scaling back services, including bathing and house keeping, as well as meddling with the air conditioning, heat, and hot water. Deitsch has also sued the children of the remaining residents for $50 million, for holding up the property's sale.

The Associated Press also highlights how Deitsch's move to sell the property and evict its residents has also allegedly contributed to the failing health of former and current residents. There are several wrongful death lawsuits pending following the eviction and subsequent demise of several fragile residents.

"In the court of public opinion, we're never going to win. But we weren't left with a choice," Deitsch told the AP. "I'm not trying to win the public. I'm trying to take care of the people and I'm trying to do what's right."

The AP also uncovers that the home was not legally licensed as an assisted living facility until 10 months before Deitsch submitted plans for its closure. The AP notes that those who are against closing the facility believe Deitsch sought the license "simply because he thought it would ease the removal of residents, avoiding potentially costly and lengthy evictions through New York City's housing court. The rules for long-term care centers only require 30 days' notice to residents before closing. Deitsch gave them 90."

In April, the remaining residents sued state health authorities claiming that they were once again given just three months to leave the facilities while no viable alternatives were offered, according to the Brooklyn Paper. Although Brooklyn is the most populous of the five boroughs, it only has three facilities for seniors.


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