21 June 2005

Gov.'s Donor Under Fire From State

Dan Morain - June 20, 2005

SACRAMENTO — A week after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger returned $10,000 to an Ohio contributor under federal fraud investigation, campaign finance reports show that the governor has accepted $67,300 from a La Cañada Flintridge nursing home operator whose company faces criminal elder-neglect charges.

Emmanuel I. Bernabe, who owns or has interests in 35 California nursing homes, was listed as one of 14 dinner chairmen at a Schwarzenegger fundraiser at the Century Plaza Hotel on March 16.

One day later, Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer filed a 13-count complaint against Bernabe's Pleasant Care Corp., alleging that the company and its Napa facility neglected residents, imperiling their health. The company has pleaded not guilty; the facility has been closed.

Although some of Bernabe's homes have been relatively problem-free, the Department of Health Services has cited several of the facilities for such problems as bad recordkeeping and patient neglect leading to bedsores, falls and, in a few instances, death.

State nursing home regulators, citing problems at homes that Bernabe and his partners own, have blocked him from buying more nursing homes in a series of actions dating to 1999.

[...] Since the start of Schwarzenegger's administration, state regulators have cited 11 of Bernabe's homes at least 51 times and levied $285,000 in fines against his nursing homes, according to records provided by the Department of Health Services and a watchdog group, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.


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