Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dozens Of NYC Seniors To Get The Boot After Non-Profit's Insider Pulls Off Lucrative Deal In Nursing Home Buyout

In New York City, the New York Post reports:

  • The oldest-running nursing home on the Lower East Side is shutting its doors for good even as residents protest a pricey property deal struck by one of its board members.

  • About 95 seniors are getting the boot from the Bialystoker Center -- a kosher nursing home that many have lived in for over a decade, including Catherine McDonald, a 107-year-old woman from the neighborhood. She and others like Mildred Mondshein, 88, and Annie Green, 85, have to find new digs at nursing homes elsewhere in the city.

  • But the demise of the Bialystoker Center has been a boon for one of its board members -- real-estate magnate Ira Meister picked up a four-story commercial building owned by the nursing home last year in a no-bid insider deal.(1)

  • Meister is the chairman of the Bialystoker board that's charged with keeping the senior center financially sound. But that didn't stop him from buying the commercial property at 232 East Broadway for $1.5 million in an all-cash deal that never was up for bid on the open market.

  • The insider sale infuriated Bialystoker residents, family members and staffers, who only learned of it last month after being told the home is shutting and the Bialystoker building, at 228 East Broadway, is going up for sale.

  • "I was shocked when I heard about it. It's a dirty thing. We're out, the nursing home building is being sold and he winds up with the property next door," said Denise Perez, who visits her grandmother Miguela Candelaria, 88, daily.

  • The Bialystoker board said Meister's purchase was made as a last-ditch effort to help save the nonprofit nursing home, which is $8.5 million in debt and hemorrhaging $100,000 a month, according to board spokeswoman Virginia Lam.

  • Meister plans to lease it to a community group for two years while renovating it, she said. Then he'll move his private real estate company -- Matthew Adam Properties in Midtown -- to the Lower East Side.

  • That news doesn't sit well with the nursing-home seniors being forced to leave. "If I'm not in the Lower East Side, nobody will be able to come visit me," said Green, who wants to stay in the neighborhood where she grew up.

  • The residents are also miffed no local pols spoke up for the fabled Jewish institution, built in 1928 and later a haven for many Holocaust survivors. "I think all the politicians have forgotten us -- they only remember us when it's time to vote," said Mondshein.

Source: Sale rakes in 'old' money (Real-estate meanie to close senior home).

(1) See The Real Deal: Bialystoker nursing center hits market for residential conversion.

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