NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an $871,000 settlement on Wednesday with Ruby Weston, a former director of two Brooklyn nursing homes, for allegedly receiving excessive and unauthorized compensation.
Weston, who was also a long-time administrator at Marcus Garvey Nursing Home and Ruby Weston Manor, allegedly breached her fiduciary duties to both institutions.
Under the terms of the agreement, Weston will pay $821,000 to Marcus Garvey, break any remaining connections to both nursing homes, be prohibited from serving as an officer or director of any New York not-for-profit corporation and pay $50,000 to Schneiderman's office to defray costs taxpayers endured for the five year litigation.
"It is inexcusable for someone to profit at the expense of elderly, frail and vulnerable New Yorkers in nursing homes," Schneiderman said. "My office will continue to hold accountable those who abuse the system and place their own greed ahead of the interests of the people they serve."
Weston allegedly circumvented board oversight at the nursing homes to enrich her family and herself. She allegedly self-approved her salary and benefits, which increased to more than $500,000 per year, and steered computer consulting business to her son without getting competitive bids. Weston allegedly designated a close personal friend to serve as the board chair for both facilities to avoid scrutiny.
The settlement requires that Marcus Garvey, also a defendant in the litigation, implement multiple reforms to address operational deficiencies identified by the state's Department of Health. The facility has been designated a Special Focus Facility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a result of a history of major quality of care issues. Under the terms of the agreement, Marcus Garvey will hire a consultant, approved by the Department of Health, to create measures to improve health outcomes and quality of life for the facility's residents.
The facility will also adopt multiple governance reforms and other measures intended to improve the oversight function of its board and the operation of the nursing home itself. The facility must adopt stricter financial controls, conduct objective and independent surveys connected with compensation decisions for its senior officers, have the directors receive periodic training on management and governance of not-for-profit corporations, and have its director of nursing and high-ranking nursing supervisors complete intensive courses successfully.
Ruby Weston Manor, the third defendant in the litigation, is now in the hands of a Department of Health-approved receiver. It is anticipated that the facility will be sold to another nursing home operator, subject to court and Department of Health approval.