Between the “lies of omission” and false statements made by Eskaton personnel, deliberate or otherwise, it’s taken a bit of time getting the truth out. Yet, the initial problem remains. The Board of Directors of Altavita remains in place instead of being sent packing.
The second problem? Appearance wise, it seems the Board is no longer in charge. But lets have a look-see at reality.
Eskaton employee Julie “I will always tell you exactly what is going on” Michaels, filed a Declaration against a certain Receiver…albeit without mentioning anything to the residents.
I mentioned this during one of Michaels “sales updates” in which she often characterizes herself as the sole source of accurate information.
So Not So
Example. Julie Michaels completely mischaracterized my statement, and for her purposes, turned it into a question, in which she answered.
What actually happened, was I asked Juie Michaels why she didn’t let residents know she filed a declaration…what with her “open and transparent” and sole provider of accurate information and all. See below.
Apparently my question angered Michaels. The very next day it was reported to Sherry a couple of minutes after Michaels was overheard in the cafe saying in reference to me, “Well, we can’t ask her to leave…that would be a bigger problem.” (Because truth is a problem?)
Sherry Ikezawa immediately sent Michaels this email.
Julie Michaels response was…silence. Surprise! Kidding. Silence is not a new behavior from Michaels. Nor is it confined to Sherry or myself. Silence and stalling is, a pattern.
There was also no response to a letter I wrote to Eskaton founder, Todd Murch, with copies to Betsy Donovan, and, Mary Carruthers, after receiving no return calls from Michaels about a board member situation. The year was 2016. Perhaps it’s an Eskaton thing.
Appearances and Reality.
It could also be a Bellann J. Raile, of Cordes & Company thing. Heard Bellann Raile was recommended by Mary Carruthers. Do know Raile has less experience with CCRCs than the individual the banks recommended, which Michaels objected. Either way, it’s a signal the Board that should have been sent packing after Rescon first voted they should resign, is still calling the shots.
I also know Raile has sold one Non-profit,years ago. But she sold it to a For-Profit.
Also, Raile doesn’t seem keen to speak with me. No return call, and when she’s at the Village, Raile also begs off speaking with me during “Social hours.”
But that’s not the reason I am completely over Eskaton and Railes sales pitch about caring about the safety of residents. As a pragmatic reminder to anyone who may have forgotten: When the words and the actions don’t match, the truth is in the action.
In that regard, Raile has been the Official Receiver since February, and has not marketed the Village at all. Including the five seconds it would take to list it on her website.
As the kids would say, “What’s up with that?”
Unfortunately it seems Raile has no apparent knowledge or interest in how much better non-profits are over For-Profits, when the time comes for an increase in medical care.
Studies show the reason is simple. The goal of the non-profit is keeping the residents well and well cared for. The goal of the for-profits, is geared to keeping the investors well padded, and cared for. Typically this occurs by cutting staff. So it’s not even a “Do the Math” kind of statement. It’s a basic, plain old arithmetic.
From the get, Raile and Eskaton have spoken soothingly to residents. However it’s been made it clear by their actions, they will deal with terrible For-Profits, in order to make the bondholders whole. Which brings us to Pacifica. Again.
Pacifica is Exhibit A why Eskaton cannnot be trusted. With a straight face, Eskaton personnel repeatedly stated residents would be happy with Pacifica as a Buyer. Pacifica’s horrible record — including a killing, was, (Not a death…a killing. . . with one resident killing another ) was either unknown, or ignored by the Board.
In short, that the Board and Eskaton considered Pacifica as a Buyer should have been the alarm that sounded for every resident. Yet somehow, it wasn’t. More on that later.
What was Eskaton thinking?
After Eskaton was hired they immediately launched a campaign to find an experienced, CEO with CCRC experience.
Eskaton continued to follow directives from a Board bent on spending money like a drunken sailor. To the surprise of no one, losses soared.
Money aside; how completely inept is the Board that refuses to resign? Consider this example.
Per the Board directive (from the Bondholders) and the marketing firm recommended by the bondholders, Air Force Village West was renamed and rebranded as part of an effort to widen its appeal. Apparently, no one thought to do a marketing survey.
Unfortunately, the “Brand” is now confused with Altavista, a Riverside Rehab center with scathingly bad Yelp reviews.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
But it’s important to keep one’s eye on the ball. With Mary Carruthers as Chairman of the Board, Bellann Raile as the Receiver, and Eskaton trilling how wonderful things will be, and don’t worry, the Bondholders have a three-of-a-kind, advantage.
Any good news? Yes! So glad you asked. Lets talk failed campaigns!
Failed Campaign #1.
The whispering campaign against Sherry Ikewza began soon after Sherry Ikezawa filed suit. (Ikezawa was warned this would happen.) When that didn’t work, (no one believed Sherry Ikezawa was in Assisted Living attempting to collect funds for her lawsuit), the Board did a double-back flip and announced their next goal to shut Sherry up.
Failed Campaign #2
Julie Michaels chirped she now had time to update the policy and procedures manual. She announced she consulted with the best of the best, attorney for CCRCs, and now, there would be no talking about the lawsuit filed by Sherry. (Michaels didn’t mention the suit filed by the banks.)
Julie went on to state there would a “No Talking” rule about the lawsuit in public areas, such as the dining room, the cafe, and other hot spots. (Again; I am not making this up.) But if residents wanted to talk about litigation, Julie Michaels said they should go to her (I am not making this up) and she would….reserve a room for them to chat.
Wait. No Free Speech in a retirement community loaded with Veterans? Exactly!I called the attorney the Board paid thousands for that piece of brilliant advice. Having done stand-up, I mentioned this would be catnip to any comedian — from Open Mic at the local comedy club, or sitting alongside Stephen Colbert.
He was not amused. Mumbled something about believing it was a good rule. A group of us met with Senator Roth. To Senator Roth’s eternal credit, he laughed and said, “Good luck with that.”
The Board attorneys, Eskaton and Michaels began making soothing sounds about the Department of Social Services coming in. Wags sniffed, “Really? Where was DSS 10 years ago when the Board first began spending the residents reserves?
To that let me just add, DSS doesn’t have a good record. Google, “Sacramento Bee, FBI raids Riverside Nursing home.”
Or, click here for the Series on DSS thinking they had a great find with Sholmo Rechnitz. (Fun fact. Sholmo Rechnitz’s spokesperson is Sallie Hofmeister. Sallie’s with Sitrick, and also speaks for Harvey Weinstein.)
By the way, the first declaration made by Cordes & Company Receiver, Bellann J. Raile, was full of gossip and innuendo.
It was also promptly kicked by Judge Craig Reimer. Raile’s second declaration was also filled with “I was told”…
But in that Raile clearly demonstrated the lengths she is willing to sink to accomplish her goal clearly reveals she is working closely with the bondholders, through the Board and Eskaton.
Which means the initial problem, the Board that should have resinged, remains in place and harmful.
Best for last!
One concern is Raile expressed was Judge Riemer might not be “up” on Non-profits.
The reality is, Raile isn’t…but this lack of knowledge doesn’t seem to concern her… because although Raile claims she works for the Courts, the reality is judicial foreclosure was chosen by the Bondholders, precisely because a Receiver is used, to cue up the judge for how to rule. For the Bondholders.
The residents? They’re chopped liver. Ask Bellann if she will recommend as part of the sale, returning the actuarial reserves the board spent.
What the hey. If the Bondholders get their money back, why shouldn’t the residents also be made whole?
When people question why some of Altavita residents casually went along with a sale…I mentioned the learned helplessness that comes from common sense solutions constantly being rebuffed. It’s a psychological aspect. Reminds some of the Stockholm Syndrome.
But who the Board and Eskaton is beholding to explains why Eskaton, with a straight face, repeatedly stated residents would be happy with Pacifica as a Buyer.
Part of me wants to shout, “Pay attention” folks. But I needn’t bother. as the list of residents who are with Sherry continues to grow.
Still, with all this, some residents will continue to believe Eskaton personnel are looking out for their best interests. Some will continue to believe Eskaton is “Open and Transparent.” Some can’t or won’t, adjust to reality.
The earlier mentioned, “learned helplessness” may be why. Learned helplessness is an active and destructive, dynamic. Only Sherry Ikezawa is looking out for all the residents. Including the less than charitable Diane Sweeney, who stood up at a meeting and said the older residents, should “Get over it.” About Pacifica.
Dad’s 95. When he needs it, I want great care for him. Dad was a WWII pilot, POW, then escaped POW…and he also flew 108 missions in Vietnam as combat support…where he was awarded his third DFC. I want the greatest of care for my Dad and all other residents. Including Diane Sweeney. Bless her heart.
Dad and other veterans deserve it.