Seaport Manor Operators Lose License; Must Compensate Residents
Former State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and State Health Commissioner Dr. Antonia C. Novello last week an-nounced the settlement of a lawsuit charging that the former operators of Seaport Manor Home for Adults failed to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the residents, while forcing them to live in deplorable conditions.
Under the settlement, the adult home's operators, Martin Rosenberg and Baruch Mappa, are permanently barred from owning, controlling, operating or administering a licensed adult care facility, or halfway house, hostel or other residential facility or program serving persons with mental disabilities. Seaport Manor administrator Elizabeth Rosenberg is barred from operating or serving as an administrator, consultant or employee of an adult care facility.
Rosenberg and Mappa were ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to the those residents who lived at the facility in the spring of 2002 and, if any residents cannot be located, to non-profit organizations benefiting residents of adult care residences in New York City. In addition, Rosenberg and Mappa must pay $49,000 in penalties and interest to the Department of Health.
In a suit filed in December of 2002, the Attorney General's office alleged that despite repeated demands by state officials to correct the myriad of deficiencies and horrendous living conditions at Seaport Manor - a 346-bed adult home at 615 East 104th Street - the violations continued. In one in-stance, the suit specified, the operators failed to properly investigate and document the death of a resident who died when her clothing caught fire. On numerous occasions state agencies found that common areas and residents' rooms were infested with mice, cockroaches and flies. The operators also failed to ensure residents received medication in the proper dosage and at the scheduled times.
Inspections by the State Health Department resulted in Seaport being cited with 122 violations of state public health law and regulations. Officials concluded that lack of supervision, inadequate medical care and substandard conditions at the Manor threatened the safety of its residents. The defendants were responsible for the operation of Seaport Manor until June of 2002 when conditions became so dangerous that the state obtained a court-appointed receiver to operate the facility while the remaining residents were placed in other adult homes.
A trial court initially dismissed the lawsuit ruling that the Department of Health's previous enforcement actions, including a 2002 administrative settlement, precluded the suit. The Appellate Division reinstated the suit but limited its scope to the three month period from the administrative settlement until the operators were removed and a temporary operator installed.
Jean Philips, an attorney for MFY Legal Services, a non-profit agency that at one time represented Seaport Manor and New South Shore Manor, another Canarsie adult home, was quoted as saying the residents would only receive a small amount of money because "legal technicalities limited the time period" for which the residents could be compensated.
New South Shore Manor at 1041 East 83rd Street, which is also owned by the Mappa family, was the center of a lawsuit last October, in which a broker was accused of conspiring to fin-ancially exploit residents and allegedly stole at least $40,000. The federal lawsuit is still pending.