***This story has been updated ” target=”_blank”>damaged by Hurricane Sandy and to help the families whose children were at those schools. In April 2013 ” target=”_blank”>class-action lawsuit against one of Rechnitz’s company’s, Brius Management, which at the time owned 57 nursing homes in California, accusing the company of misrepresenting its quality of care, committing fraud and routinely violating industry regulations. Rechnitz’s attorney, Patricia Glaser, dismissed the lawsuit as baseless and said Garcia filed the lawsuit after Rechnitz denied him a consulting contract.
Also in 2014, the Sacramento Bee published an investigative series on nursing homes in California, particularly focusing on Rechnitz and ranking 35 of his nursing homes “below state averages” for quality of care, and marking them for performing worse than average in terms of nurse turnover, ratio of nurse aids, ratio of licensed vocational nurses, and ratio of registered nurses. The Bee determined that the nursing homes Rechnitz owned for all of 2014 had nearly triple as many “serious deficiencies” per 1,000 beds as the California average in 2014, according to data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
And in the same year, the California Attorney General Kamala Harris attempted to block Rechnitz’s purchase of 19 nursing homes, only to drop that injunction.
Last October, meanwhile, the FBI searched one of Rechnitz’s nursing homes in Riverside, the Alta Vista Healthcare & Wellness Centre. Laura Eimiller, a FBI spokeswoman, told the Journal in October that agents “were seeking evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation,” but not to remove any patients. Eimiller confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.
And in August, two former senior employees of the Mesa Verde Post Acute Care Center were charged with four misdemeanor counts of inflicting injury on an elder, and failing to report elder abuse. That same month Harris filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre in Pasadena, criminally charging two nurses at the facility who they accused of “dependent-adult abuse” after an unstable 57-year-old resident walked unsupervised to a gas station, purchased a gallon of gasoline, and then lit herself on fire, dying at a local hospital the next day. A spokeswoman for Harris has not yet responded to a request for comment on the status of that case.
At the Mesa Verde nursing home, Rechnitz recently created and sponsors a wish-granting program for patients, providing, for example as recently described in a Los Angeles Times piece, a limousine ride and dinner for an elderly patient and his family.