The owner of seven nursing homes in Louisiana, who last year sent more than 800 of his elderly residents to an overcrowded, poorly equipped warehouse to wait out Hurricane Ida, was arrested Wednesday on charges of fraud and cruelty related to appalling conditions.
Bob Glynn Dean Jr., 68, has already lost state licenses and federal funding for relocating his residents to a facility in the city of Independence, about 70 miles (110 km) northwest of New Orleans. There, authorities said, they found sick and elderly people bedridden on mattresses on the wet floor, some screaming for help, some lying in their own feces. According to one doctor, some arrived without medication. Civil lawsuits against Dean’s corporation said the ceiling was leaking, the toilets in the stuffy warehouse were overflowing, and there was too little food and water.
On Wednesday, Dean was in custody at Tangipahoa Ward on charges of Medicaid fraud, cruelty to the infirm and obstruction of justice.
Dean’s lawyer, John McClindon, said earlier this week Dean was informed of the warrant against him. Georgia resident Dean flew to Louisiana and surrendered on Wednesday. McClindon said Dean should be released on $350,000 bail.
Attorney General Jeff Landry said the criminal charges stemmed from allegations that Dean billed Medicaid for dates when its residents were not receiving proper care at the warehouse “and engaged in activities designed to intimidate or obstruct public health officials and law enforcement”.
McClindon said he could not comment on all the allegations because he had not yet read the entire warrant. But during a short interview, he said, “I don’t think Bob Dean did anything that would rise to the criminal level.”
A few days after the Ida strike on August 29, the state reported the deaths of seven people who were evacuated to a warehouse in the city of Independence. Five were classified as storm-related deaths.
Dean later lost state licenses for his seven properties. In May, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was banning Dean from receiving federal funding, including Medicare and Medicaid. McLindon told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate at the time that Dean was appealing the revocation of state licenses and would be reinstated in federal programs if the appeals were upheld.
Ida made landfall last August as one of the strongest storms to ever hit the US, cutting off power throughout New Orleans, blowing roofs off buildings and changing the course of the Mississippi River as it rushed off the coast into a major industrial corridor. . Ida’s landfall with 150 mph (240 km/h) winds also marked the first time in recorded history that the state experienced winds of 150 mph or more in consecutive years.
At the warehouse where Ding residents were taken, conditions quickly deteriorated due to the storm, government officials said. Generators used to provide electricity sometimes failed. Residents were in close quarters at a time when the state was calling for social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some went for hours without food.
Dean’s nursing homes were River Palms Nursing and Rehab and Maison Orleans Healthcare Center in New Orleans; South Lafourche Care and Rehabilitation Center in Lafourche Parish; Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home, West Jefferson Health Center, and Maison DeVille Harvey Nursing Home in Jefferson County; and the Maison DeVille Nursing Home in Terrebonne Parish.