Failure to pay 106 employees and furnish payroll records to Massachusetts have led the state’s attorney general to cite the owner-operators of the defunct Skyline Healthcare with $85,000 in citations.
Though Skyline walked away from many of the facilities it owned last year, Massachusetts was forced to intervene at five remaining locations just last month. Attorney General Maura Healey announced Thursday that her office had issued 15 citations to owners Joseph Schwartz and Michael Schwartz for failure to pay timely wages, provide pay stubs to 369 employees or turn over payroll records requested by Healey’s office.
The penalties do not include $64,749 in back wages, which were covered by court-appointed receiver KCP Advisory Group.
An email sent by McKnight’s to a previously known media representative for Skyline was not returned by production deadline.
Meggie Quackenbush, a spokeswoman for Healey’s office, told McKnight’s the citations were the result of a state fair labor investigation. The citations conclude the state’s look at the case, though federal officials could bring charges if other types of labor violations are found.
Although at least 69 Skyline facilities in six states have gone into receivership — with others closing abruptly or employees citing food and other shortages — the company has seemingly avoided repercussions until now. Last June, a U.S. District Court judge rejected a potential class action case that argued that Skyline’s practice of limiting the number of licensed nurses and staff on duty in four Arkansas homes victimized residents, finding the claims were too broad.
Quackenbush told McKnight’s she could not comment on whether Healey had discussed her investigation with peers in other states, or whether she knew if other states might pursue civil penalties.
In a press release, Healey said the Schwartzes’ wage theft led employees to quit, creating staff shortages and compromising the safety of residents.
“Nursing home residents, their families, and employees have all been through a very difficult experience, so I am pleased to see the company being held accountable for the disruption and anxiety it caused,” New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell told South Coast Today when the fine was announced.