It doesn’t take much to file a lawsuit against a nursing home provider or other entity, so allegations might often be heard with an unconvinced shrug. But the sheer audacity in a complaint against the former owners of James Square nursing home in Syracuse, NY, will have tongues wagging — regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome — for years to come.
The class-action plaintiffs claim that owners drained the facility of resources by forming a string of companies and using subterfuge that included writing a contract in Hebrew.
Lead plaintiffs attorney Jeremiah Frei-Pearson claims the accused trio’s actions included forming companies to divert funding, inflating self-rent payments and filing fraudulent claims for therapy.
The accused trio, former owners Judy Kushner of New Jersey and Abraham Gutnicki of Illinois, and alleged accomplice Eliezer Friedman of New Jersey, have denied wrongdoing in court documents. A county supreme court judge on Wednesday, however, denied their requests to be removed from the class-action filing.
Friedman owned the James Square property and formed River Meadows LLC to run it. He then allegedly sold River Meadows to Gutnicki and Kushner for $1.
Plaintiffs allege in court filings that a multi-million dollar agreement among the three was written in Hebrew and made enforceable only in a Jewish court of law, according to a syracuse.com report. Friedman said in a court filing that the Hebrew agreement did not involved diversion of funds.
The judge has ordered electronic documents handed over to the plaintiffs and the unsealing of previously secret financial documents concerning River Meadows.
The 440-bed James Square has had a checkered past, which includes an attorney general’s raid and seizure of records in 2017. Later that year, River Meadows declared bankruptcy. New owners have since renamed the facility Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.