Tag Archives: Eureka

Nursing home magnate loses bid to transfer case from Humboldt County

A Humboldt County judge denied Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz’s bid to transfer jurisdiction of a wrongful death lawsuit to Los Angeles, rejecting a Rechnitz’s claim that he couldn’t get a fair trial in Humboldt.

Judge Timothy Cessna ruled that Brius failed to show that a Humboldt jury would show bias towards the company that controls every skilled nursing facility in the county, the Eureka Times-Standard reported.

Rechnitz, a Los Angeles billionaire, had argued that “negative” reports of the company’s failed attempt last year to close three of its five nursing homes in the county and potentially force residents to transfer far from their families, would prevent him from getting a fair trial.

Local officials had accused him of using the planned closures as bargaining chips to force authorities to boost his Med-Cal reimbursements. Rechnitz’s lawyers even noted that the North Coast Journal had ranked his closure ploy as Humboldt County’s top “Dick Move” of 2016.

The case was filed by relatives of  Ralph Sorensen who was admitted to Eureka’s Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, where he developed a pressure sore that became infected and ultimately led to his death last year.

The Sorensen case is just the start of Rechnitz’s legal troubles in Humboldt. He is facing several lawsuits including one filed on behalf of a man whose sister alleges he was discharged from a Eureka nursing home and dumped at a hotel where he died four days later and another filed on behalf of a man who also died after developing pressure sores that became infected.


Inflated rents could explain Shlomo Rechnitz’s latest nursing home citations

What happens when nursing homes are chronically understaffed?

In a Humboldt County facility, one patient had to pull herself up after a fall, another sat in soiled clothes for more than a half hour, and a blind person suffered a broken arm after falling while walking unassisted to the bathroom, according to a report released this month by the California Department of Public Health.

The agency issued $160,000 in fines to Shlomo Rechnitz’s Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in connection to those – and several other — violations. And the culprit was under-staffing, according to the Eureka Times Standard, which obtained a copy of the report.

“In its review of the Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, the California Department of Public Health found that as much as three times more staff time was needed to provide adequate care for the residents. Nursing home staff also acknowledged in interviews with the state that more care providers were needed.”

Rechnitz said he’ll appeal the fines. But can he explain how he appears to be siphoning money out of the facility through a rental arrangement that allowed him to charge his nursing home a highly-inflated rent?

Before Rechnitz bought the nursing home in 2011, the previous owner paid an annual rent $333,530, according to state records.

With Rechnitz at the helm, the annual rent more than doubled to $827,751 – a 148 percent increase.

Isn’t higher rent bad for business? Not if you’re Rechnitz. That’s because instead of having his nursing home pay rent directly to the property owner, Rechnitz created another company to rent the building. Then he turned around and had that company rent it to the nursing home.

What happened to the difference between what Rechnitz’s company paid the landlord in rent, and the $827k that company received from Rechnitz’s nursing home? It certainly doesn’t appear to be going toward staffing.

In fact, state figures show that the annual number of nursing hours worked at the facility dropped from 92,158 in the year before Rechnitz bought it to 87,587 in 2015, the last year for which figures are available.