A federal judge in Florida has determined that a legal case involving more than $1 billion in wrongful death and other judgments against a bankrupt nursing home company can proceed.
At the eye of the storm is private equity firm GTCR, which at the time of the alleged bad acts was led by current Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.
At issue are more than $1 billion in judgments that have been rolled together in a bankruptcy case before Judge Michael G. Williamson of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Middle District of Florida.
Rauner’s GTCR Group funded Trans Healthcare Inc., an operator of Florida nursing homes and other post-acute facilities. Within less than a decade, Trans Healthcare faced allegations of wrongful death, resident neglect and financial mismanagement — and about 150 lawsuits.
Ultimately, judgments against the company totaled more than $2.3 billion, though the then-bankrupt company did not defend itself in some of the cases.
Plaintiffs in the current litigation claim that GTCR transferred assets and sent the company into receivership in an effort to avoid paying creditors and others it owed money.
The Chicago Tribune first reported on Williamson’s March ruling in May, setting off chatter anew in Illinois election circles. A former general counsel for Rauner’s Republican party called the ruling “very bad news” for Rauner, even though the candidate is not personally named in the lawsuits.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), Rauner’s opponent, released a statement that claimed Rauner was part of “an elaborately orchestrated scheme to cheat the legal system, defraud families and take advantage of those who were too vulnerable to care for themselves in order to make a buck.”
Rauner reiterated that he was detached from operation of the facilities in question and is quoted as saying, “It sounds like there were some very sad events. I hope if there is any wrongdoing, that it gets punished.”