Buena Vista attorney says his clients haven’t told their side of story

By Jack King: CNJ STAFF WRITER

A temporary administrator testified Monday that Buena Vista Nursing Home had a leaky roof, black mold and a “very dirty” kitchen when she was asked to step in and oversee operations on May 20.

But an attorney representing Buena Vista’s owners said his clients’ side of the story has not yet been told. And attorney Mike Bello said the Albuquerque company now overseeing the nursing home under a contract with the state has a financial interest in continuing the contract.

The second in a series of at least three hearings to determine control of the Clovis facility was held Monday in 9th Judicial District Court. It had be continued until July 26 because Bello was unable to present his witnesses in the time allowed.

The state Department of Health will retain control of the nursing home at least until the July 26 hearing concludes.

The state took control of the facility from Dr. Ali and Linda Ghaffari on May 20 after filing a special court receivership petition. It now seeks to put the facility in permanent receivership.

Health department officials said May 7 that Buena Vista was one of three homes where agents found improper care after an undercover investigation. Of the three, Buena Vista is the only home officials have gone to court to control.

The hearing for control of the facility began on June 7. Monday’s second day of testimony focused on the state’s case.

Cindy Myers, an administrator for Peak Medical Services of Albuquerque, which is managing Buena Vista Nursing Home under a contract with the Health Department, testified there was little food in the pantry when she arrived. Nursing home staff said there were no cleaning supplies in the building, she testified.

Terry Curran, a certified mold inspector, testified he had been asked by the state to inspect the building and had found “toxic black mold” in one wing. Curran brought a sample of the mold, but, on a motion by Bello, Judge Stephen Quinn excluded the sample because no lab technician was present to certify it. Bello also pointed out the wing of the building in which the mold was found is unused.

Following the hearing, Bello reminded a reporter that Myers is an employee of Peak, “which has a financial incentive in continuing the receivership.

“… Peak stands to make a lot of money through the receivership,” he said.

In court, Bello said the Ghaffaris have filed for bankruptcy, under Chapter 11 reorganization provisions. He told Quinn that under those provisions the receivership should be terminated.

He also asked Quinn to have Peak provide a bond to protect the Ghaffaris from any damage during Peak’s management of the home.

Quinn denied both requests and Bello said he would file appeals to the decisions before the July 26 hearing.