Harlem – A Harlem nursing home wants to quash a subpoena by the state Attorney General’s office, which seeks to block the sale of the home to a company it is investigating for its role in another controversial nursing home sale, according to court documents filed Thursday.
The Greater Harlem Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center said in court documents filed in state Supreme Court that it is in “extreme financial difficulty” and does not have the ability to continue operating the home, located at 30 W. 138th St.
Due to “years of declining reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, operating costs, and declining patient populations,” the home sought to sell its assets to the Allure Group, according to court documents.
However, earlier this week, the Attorney General’s office filed court documents seeking to block the sale of the home to the company, citing the company's purchasing, then closing and demolishing of a Brooklyn-based facility and the selling of Rivington House, a nursing home on the Lower East Side, to residential developers.
The company paid $16 million to lift a city deed limiting Rivington’s use for nonprofit residential treatment and then sold the property to residential developers for $116 million, DNAinfo New York previously reported.
The sale eventually led to an investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the city’s Department of Investigation, comptroller’s office and the Attorney General’s office.
The city's handling of the Rivington House situation has come under fire by the DOI, which is investigating that sale. DOI Commissioner Mark Peters had to threaten to sue the city's Law Department in order to obtain relevant documents and access to City Hall computers, the agency revealed this week.
The nursing home, however, claims the attorney general is on a “fishing expedition” and does not have the money required to produce the thousands of pages of documents related to the investigation into the sale, according to court documents.
The nursing home also said initially the attorney general had stamped “no objection” on a petition to sell its assets to Allure this past May. However, the Attorney General's office rescinded its objection, apparently due to questions regarding the commitment by Allure to continue operating the home.
In the court documents, the nursing home claims that the “continued operation” of the home was not a condition of the initial “no objection” stamp by the attorney general.
A representative for the nursing home did not respond to a request for comment.
The Attorney General’s office said it would continue with its investigation and prevent Allure from purchasing the home.
“As our office has documented in great and troubling detail, Allure made clear and repeated promises to continue the operation of nursing homes for the benefit of a vulnerable population—promises that proved to be false,” said Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for the attorney general.
“While we conduct our investigation into these misrepresentations, we will forcefully object to Allure buying additional nursing homes.
“We will also vigorously oppose any effort to obstruct our legitimate law enforcement investigation into Allure’s transactions and representations.”