Earlier this month, NY1 reported on a Brooklyn assisted living facility that suddenly announced it was closing, forcing out all its patients with just 90 days notice. Now NY1 has learned the facility has a long history of questionable practices which a lawsuit claims have led to several deaths. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez has an exclusive look inside.
Looking out on Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park, the Prospect Park Residence assisted living facility is prime real estate. Owner Hayasha Deitsch wants to turn it into condos, forcing out about 100 elderly patients. But NY1 has learned he's facing legal action. Not for the evictions, but court papers filed Tuesday accuse him of being responsible for the wrongful deaths of six patients including a prominent judge, John Phillips.
"They mismanaged the judge's medical condition. They did not provide him, he was a diabetic and they didn't provide him with a diabetic menu. They didn't monitor his sugars properly,” said Dennis Kelly, lawyer for the estate of John Phillips.
State Health Department documents from 2009 find the nursing home wasn't even licensed.
A letter says in part, "...it appears that you are providing residential care and services to adults residing in your facility...a review of our records indicates that you do not have such certification."
"We believed and everybody else involved in the case believed it was a licensed assisted living facility and it turns out that they weren't, that they weren't licensed at all,” said Kelly.
Pictures shown above taken inside two years ago are evidence in the case against Deitsch. The lawsuit alleges dementia patients were kept confined in a unit here. Signage at the elevators says do not let residents on unless properly supervised.
"These are people who need 24-hour care. There are people who are bedridden. They had bed sores,” said Kelly.
Now a criminal complaint is being filed with the Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson to investigate.
The complaint also alleges medical records and incident reports are missing. Representatives for Deitsch wouldn't comment on this suit but said a federal case against him was dismissed because it lacked merit. The facility finally got a license by the end of 2012 only to submit a closure plan with the Health Department.
"Now they're using the license to get people out of that building so they can convert it into condos within 90 days,” said Kelly.
Despite protests, the closure plan is moving forward.