A judge took the reins of a Grand Army Plaza old folks home from its embattled owner and handed them over to a temporary administrator last month, which will hopefully ensure that the facility’s residents will be cared for while court proceedings against the owner continue — and that they will continue at all, said a Park Slope pol who welcomed the news.
“The core court case could not have been heard if all of the residents had been driven out through illegal mismanagement, so thankfully the judge appointed someone who will provide basic services,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope). “The judge has been the sole protector of the residents, but he cannot provide day-to-day protection.”
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Wayne Saitta seized the management of Prospect Park Residence from owner Haysha Deitsch on April 10 and appointed Brian Rosenman, a nursing home administrator, as receiver, as first reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The move comes more than a year after Deitsch first announced he intended to close the facility citing financial difficulties — a claim The Brooklyn Paper revealed to be bogus when court documents showed he had actually agreed in January 2014 to sell the building for $76.5 million once he had cleared out all the residents. Most of the facility’s 120-odd residents decamped, but a handful remained, and their angry relatives sued Deitsch and the Department of Health to keep the facility open and create a new closure plan, claiming the original plan was illegal and inadequate. Saitta ordered Deitsch to keep the facility open for the holdouts and continue providing the services laid out in their leases until the lawsuit could be settled.
But the remaining residents and their families accused Deitsch of cutting services, and the original lawsuit became mired in sideshow litigation. Advocates for the residents say Deitsch only kept a skeleton crew of staff, dimmed hallway lighting, and served shoddy meals, which they claim was a deliberate ploy to force the inhabitants out.
“For a year Haysha Deitsch has shown he had no intention of providing services,” said Lander, who has previously labelled Deitsch as “evil.” “We have every reason to believe that his goal was to make the facility unlivable.”
The number of people in the home has now dwindled to seven. But Lander said he hopes the new management will allow the remaining residents to see justice.