The state is trying to force elderly Park Slopers from their old folks’ home on short notice while still fighting a court battle over its attempt to do the exact same thing two years ago, a new lawsuit charges.
Five nonagenarian tenants at Prospect Park Residence sued state health authorities in April claiming they once again gave them three months to scram from the Grand Army Plaza building without offering any viable alternatives — a move their loved ones believe they are too frail to survive.
“It might kill them to move,” said Nancy Rich, whose 91-year-old pal Anne-Marie Mogil lives in the home. “It’s definitely become a life and death issue.”
The oldsters have been locked in a high-profile suit with the state and their landlord since 2014, after he gave them marching orders on similarly short notice.
A judge last year appointed a caretaker to look after the building and its remaining residents, and to formulate a relocation plan while the litigation continued.
But the suit claims the new guy’s scheme is equally illegal and inadequate — and state officials have once again signed off on it.
It told the wizened denizens on March 3 that they have until May 23 to get out but only suggested alternative accommodations that are too restrictive, too far from their families, way more expensive than their current $4,500-a-month rents, or don’t even have any rooms available, the suit claims.
Above all, the plan is just too vague, their laywer charges — suggesting the state cares more about getting them out than where they are going or what happens once they’re there.
“It seems as if the Department of Health is most concerned about doing what it can to make this closure happen as soon as possible,” said attorney Jason Johnson.
In fact, he said, it is similar to the eviction plan the building’s owner Haysha Deitsch filed two years ago, when he announced he was abruptly closing the residence due to financial hardship — though this paper later revealed he had already inked a deal to sell the building for $76 million.
Most of the 120-odd tenants left anyway, but a handful refused to leave and they and their loved ones filed the first suit.
The judge ordered Deitsch — who is not a target of this new suit — to keep the facility open for them during the case, but it has been bogged down for years in sideshow litigation over tenants’ claims that he has attempted to push them out by cutting services and raising rents.
Deitsch countersued in March, claiming the families are maliciously smearing his name in the court room and the press.
Just to make legal matters more complicated, the families of nine people who died in the home when it was still officially open are also suing Deitsch for the wrongful deaths of their kin, claiming they perished there after the unlicensed operator ignored the health department’s orders to move them somewhere more suitable.
The State Department of Health and caretaker Brian Rosenman did not return requests for comment by press time.
DNA Info first reported on the latest lawsuit.