Last Sunday, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call about a “plethora of medical records on different people” found in a pile behind an abandoned Walgreens in Harvey.
Measuring nearly 3 feet high and 7 feet wide, the mound of records was filled with details of the ailments of elderly and infirm former residents of the Maison DeVille nursing home, about 1 ½ miles away, according to a report by police. Maison DeVille, like the seven nursing homes owned by embattled tycoon Bob Dean, has been closed since its disastrous evacuation of 843 residents to an ill-equipped warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish during Hurricane Ida.
How the medical records from that nursing home ended up in a parking lot five months later is among the more recent mysteries involving Dean. The Jefferson Sheriff’s Office now holds records from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, which has launched a criminal investigation into Dean’s dealings.
The discovery of these files – how they got there aside – could reflect how Dean’s little empire has begun to crumble, even as he fights to get back his licenses to run nursing homes.
Legally, Dean no longer controls Maison DeVille; the U.S. Marshals Service seized the building and three other retirement homes owned by Dean in mid-January. U.S. District Judge Wendy Vitter ordered the civil foreclosures as part of foreclosure proceedings, giving the properties to a “custodian” to manage them, according to court records.
Dean’s lender, Capital Funding, says that after the state shutdown, Dean missed about $135,000 in monthly payments on the four homes. The doors to the Townhouse were padlocked this week, and a U.S. Marshal’s “No Trespassing” sign was pasted at the entrance.
Another lender, Investar Bank, filed a foreclosure on Dean’s three other nursing homes this month: River Palms in New Orleans, Park Place in Gretna and South Lafourche Nursing Center in Cut Off. These three facilities were not seized.
In total, Investar is trying to recover more than $40 million in principal and interest it loaned to Dean or various companies he owns, according to court records. The loans include several made to Dean Classic Cars, Dean’s used-car dealership in Baton Rouge, which received a $10 million line of credit on Aug. 2, weeks before the Tangipahoa debacle.
This is in addition to $27 million in outstanding loans and interest owed by Dean-controlled companies on the four foreclosed retirement homes.
Eric Lockridge, a partner at the Kean Miller law firm which represents Capital Funding, said Dean had not had access to Maison De Ville since the January 14 property seizure, but it did not appear that the deleted files came directly from the closed facility.
He said HGI, the custodian appointed to manage the property, does not clean up the records of any seized nursing homes and he claimed no knowledge of the orphan files.
Lawyers representing Dean did not return requests for comment on this story. A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office did not respond to questions about whether it was investigating the dumped records.
Nursing Home Evacuation Warehouse Site For Sale
Meanwhile, Dean has put several other properties up for sale through a broker, although none of his seven retirement homes appear to be among them. He does, however, sell the tract to Independence where he has sent nursing home residents to ride out the hurricane.
Dean is asking $2.6 million for the 5-acre lot and its seven buildings, including the warehouse where conditions quickly deteriorated before state health officials stepped in to shut it down.
Dozens of frail people who were evacuated to the warehouse later died and many more were hospitalized. Those who survived the warehouse evacuation were dispatched to nursing homes across the state.
Although they’ve added “for sale” signs and a padlocked fence, the property on Calhoun Street looks pretty much like it did immediately after the storm. Sheets, half-empty bottles of red Powerade and blue surgical masks are strewn in a doorway, while a few metal wheelchairs and folding chairs remain outside a building.
The status quo is desired: two district judges issued injunctions shortly after the evacuation and the first lawsuits, prohibiting Dean from cleaning up the site.
In new documents filed in Federal Court, Dean’s attorneys say the plaintiff’s attorneys had two opportunities to visit the warehouse and document evidence of what happened there. Dean wants permission to sanitize and sell the property.
“The site has unfortunately attracted burglars, who have infiltrated the site at least once,” Dean’s attorneys wrote in a March 3 filing. “There is dirty laundry and rubbish that has to be thrown away and is useless. There are also residents’ personal effects that must be sorted and, if possible, returned to applicants. »
The sheets that remained there also affected the results of the company that provided them, Dean’s lawyers wrote. Westport Linens provided linens, robes, carts and more for the warehouse evacuation and its business was “negatively affected by lack of access to its linens and other supplies”.
Suppliers are not the only ones waiting for the return of their goods.
A sign reading “I want my mom’s stuff!” with a phone number scribbled on it was taped to the door of Dean’s River Palms Nursing Home in New Orleans. The person who responded to a text to that number said her mother had landed in a care home in Mansfield and no one had answered her calls for her missing clothes and TV.
Dean’s lawyers have claimed in recent court documents that he suffers from dementia and memory loss that should prevent him from testifying in any deposition as he tries to fend off dozens of lawsuits from those evacuated in the storm and their family members.