Residents of a Connecticut nursing home that is already facing bankruptcy watched Tuesday as federal agents raided the facility’s administrative offices.
Sherrie Weller, president of AFSCME Local 1522, which represents many of the employees, said a warrant was served and the FBI, Department of Labor staff and others were on the scene Tuesday morning.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed to News12 that “federal law enforcement activity” was taking place at the nursing home, but would not say which federal agencies were involved.
According to the television station, workers have previously accused the nursing home’s chief financial officer, Chaim Stern, of failing to pay them on numerous occasions and failing to pay the company that manages their healthcare benefits.
In 2016, the Labor Department sued the home and Stern, alleging they funneled $4 million from the facility’s retirement plan to themselves and a religious organization.
The retirement plan was supposed to provide benefits for employees and beneficiaries of both Bridgeport Health Care Center and Bridgeport Manor, located in Bridgeport, CT. Stern was also the plan’s trustee and sole decision maker. The feds alleged Stern diverted at least $4 million in plan assets to Bridgeport Health, himself, and Em Kol Chai, a New York-based religious organization that lists Stern as its president and trustee.
A message left by McKnight’s Tuesday afternoon with Bridgeport Health Care’s marketing office was not returned by production deadline.
Weller and a small group of the home’s 400 or so workers protested there in early April, telling the media employees were not being paid on time or in full. The nursing home filed for bankruptcy April 18.
The 240-bed facility has a two-star rating on Nursing Home Compare and had been dinged for a high number of days without registered nurse staffing.
Weller said most nursing home employees represented by the union were able to work uninterrupted during Tuesday morning’s raid, though they were searched before being escorted to their posts. Administrative workers were not allowed into their offices, she told the Connecticut Post.