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Families Take Legal Action Against Senior Care Facility In Acworth

ACWORTH, Ga. The families of many seniors forced out of their assisted living home this summer are now taking legal action.

Joy Beth Fissette said the health of her 83-year-old mother has declined significantly after she was forced out of Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living in Acworth three months ago.

Today my mom cant talk. She cant complete a sentence or say anything. And she doesnt quite know at all where shes at, Fissette said.

In July, there was nothing peaceful about what happened at Tranquil Gardens. The owners told residents they had three days to move out.

Staff members protested by setting their work clothes on fire outside the business.

Co-owner Brian Stewart claimed financial troubles led to the closure.

Now many families impacted by the abrupt closure are involved in a lawsuit. Attorney Ed Novotny is representing some of the families and said the owners were in breach of their contract with the residents.

The law requires that they be notified by the owners directly in writing that they were going to terminate their services being provided and their lodging being provided. And the law requires 30 days, not three, Novotny said.

Now I dont have them. I have shells and theyre not even going to make it that much longer. Hospice is on full time. They dont understand why they dont do anything. They cant talk, they can barely walk. I lost a lot and those guys lost nothing. They lost nothing. And thats not okay, Fissette said.

Assisted Living Facility That Has Evicted Residents Owes Millions

Georgia HeadlinesJuly 16, 2021Andy Miller3

Channel 2 Action News has learned that an assisted living facility that gave their elderly residents three days notice that they would be evicted owed millions of dollars. Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care informed their residents on Tuesday that the property was being foreclosed on and they would need to move out by Friday.

Read the full article:

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Workers Struggling After Assisted Living Facility Abruptly Closes Evicts Elderly Residents

The Cherokee County Sheriffs Office is receiving a trunk full of documents following the sudden closure of Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Former executive director Tiffany Echols met with Channel 2s Chris Jose on Monday and showed him boxes of paperwork in her trunk.

Ive been riding around with this stuff in my trunk since Tuesday night and I will be turning it over to the authorities today, said Echols.

A sheriffs office spokesperson said investigators are still reviewing the case to determine if its a criminal or civil matter.

Seniors were given a verbal eviction last Tuesday. They had three days to move out due to foreclosure.

The owners, Brian and Janice Stewart, blamed the pandemic for their financial troubles, but documents obtained by Channel 2 Action News show they filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

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Jose reached out to attorneys who specialize in eviction laws for context and perspective.

Ayanna Jones-Lightsy with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, told Jose the owners could face civil penalties. She said:

The former employees told Jose they have not been paid. Some are going through the unemployment process, but they live paycheck to paycheck. They started a GoFundMe page to help with immediate expenses.

Assisted Living Facility Abruptly Closes Forcing Residents And Staff Out

Assisted living facility in Acworth, GA

ACWORTH, Ga. — There is nothing peaceful about whats happening at Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living in Acworth.

Its moving day, but not one the residents had planned for, making goodbyes that much harder.

The owners informed management that residents need to move out by Friday, giving the elderly only three-days-notice.

I talked to the owner and asked for some understanding, but the only thing she could tell me is theres nothing I can tell you right now, Employee Cynthia Roach said.

And its not just the residents being told to leave, its also the employees.

Executive Director Tiffany Echols said the owners told her they were going into foreclosure. And while she has not seen official paperwork to back that up, she is aware they often failed to pay bills on time.

We probably will not be receiving a paycheck on Friday. We do not know, Echols said. This was not a surprise because this happens every month. We get a disconnect notice from Cobb EMC, from the gas company, from the water company every single month.

Ken Byers is still upset about the impact this will have on his 87-year-old mother with memory care needs.

It was managed so poorly that no one saw this coming, Byers said. They were pretty cold hearted I cant believe they did that and its not just me. Its all the people that stayed in this. We trusted those people.

It sets them back, especially our Alzheimers people. It sets them back about 6 months, Roach said.

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Residents Staff Of Acworth Assisted Living Facility Blindsided By Verbal Eviction Notice

Acworth assisted living facility abruptly closes

Staff and residents of Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living Facility tell FOX 5 they were given a “verbal eviction notice” on Tuesday. They were told the property was being foreclosed on.

ACWORTH, Ga. – Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living Facility’s staff, residents, and their family members are in disbelief after learning the facility will be permanently closing its doors at the end of the week.

Staff and residents tell FOX 5 they were given a “verbal eviction notice” on Tuesday. They were told the property was being foreclosed on.

“I never thought these people would do this to these residents. There is no name for what they’ve done to us. Uprooting my mom at 99,” said Nellie Garcia.

Jon Fisher is a resident who has been at the facility for about two months. His family was able to find him a new assisted living facility nearby to move into.

Fisher said he was initially angry when he heard the news.

“I can’t believe they did not know about this before this week,” he said.

Will Riggs said he just moved his father into the facility a couple of months ago. He said he’s received no communication from the owners.

“No one is trying to get our money back. We’ve just put in about $3,500 in this place in the last two months. There’s no notice of what’s going on,” Riggs said.

He said his father will need to undergo medical evaluations before being admitted into a new facility and they are unable to get that done by the end of the week.

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About Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care

Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care is a large assisted living community located in Acworth, GA. The cost at this community starts at $3,792, while the average cost for a senior living community in Acworth, GA is $3,335. These are estimated prices.

At this assisted living property, residents can receive 24-hour non-medical care while also enjoying transportation arrangement and assistance with their activities of daily living , some of which include maintaining continence , getting dressed, and bathing. When living at Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, residents can participate in community events and activities, such as social hours, movie nights and morning walks. In addition, residents at Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care can enjoy a variety of amenities that include kitchenettes, telephones within bedrooms, and a beauty salon.

Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care is licensed in the state of Georgia as an assisted living community.

Reform Law Came Too Late

Tranquil Assisted Living | Bellevue WA | Bellevue | Memory Care

Up to now, consumers have had no clear way to assess a care homes financial health. Thats because the state hasnt tracked the information, and there were no requirements for disclosure by the homes.

But after an AJC investigation in 2019 found that more than 20% of Georgias assisted living communities and large personal care homes had owners or operators with financial problems, state lawmakers took action. Last year, they approved a new law requiring senior care home operators to prove before they open that they have money to operate, and to give regulators, residents and their families 60-day notice of any impending bankruptcy or property eviction that may force residents to relocate.

This whole thing was a bad business. It’s unfortunate it’s an assisted living. We couldn’t make it work.”

With the pandemic compounding the financial problems of many senior care facilities, that law is now seen as vital. It was to take effect July 1.

But state regulators are still promulgating the specific rules for how the law is administered, and it all came too late for those at Tranquil Gardens.

Now, the Acworth home may be a test as to whether the law has the teeth to be effective.

I think its certainly something we should look at, said Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, who sponsored the reforms. Im often bewildered at how human beings can treat other humans in such horrible ways.

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Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living Community

Community Description

Tranquil Gardens is conveniently located in Acworth, GA near Lake Allatoona. They are close to shopping, restaurants, movie theatres, and parks including The Park at City Center, Woodstock which features outdoor festivals, concerts, and special events. Surrounding the building are manicured grounds with inviting outdoor patios to enjoy with friends and family. Ample parking areas are available for those who have automobiles. Accessible scheduled transportation is available for shopping and activities if you wish to leave the driving to us. In addition, our location is conveniently serviced by CATS transportation system.

Acworth Assisted Living Community Closes Gives Residents Days To Move Out

Tranquil Gardens, an assisted living and memory care facility on Bells Ferry Road, informed residents and their families Tuesday morning they would have to be moved out by noon Friday, as the facility was being foreclosed on.

ACWORTH An assisted living and memory care facility in southwest Cherokee County announced its closing this week, giving a little over two dozen residents just a few days to find a new place to call home.

Tranquil Gardens, on Bells Ferry Road just north of Highway 92 near Acworth, informed staff and residents Tuesday morning the facility was closing. The 27 residents and their families were given until noon Friday to move out of the center.

Executive Director Tiffany Echols said she received a call from facility owner Brian Stewart at around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. During the call, Stewart informed Echols that she needed to begin calling residents families and let them know they would have to move out by noon Friday, as the facility had been foreclosed on.

Sue Petillo, whose father lives at Tranquil Gardens, said her sister received a message from the center late Tuesday morning saying the lease for her father had been revoked. Ken Byers, whose mother has lived at the center for two and a half years, received a similar call Tuesday morning.

Our family, we were in shock. We went into crisis mode, Byers said Thursday. We pulled together and found somewhere else on Bells Ferry Road to move her into.

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Nearly $10 Million In Debts

Assisted living facility in Acworth, GA

Stewarts mother, Janice, the matriarch of a family that has roots in Cherokee County that go back decades, owned the land near Acworth where Tranquil Gardens was built through Five Dreams Holding LLC. The property used to be a mobile home park.

The assisted living project started in 2015 but took three and a half years to complete, plagued by delays, contractor disputes and cost overruns, according to court documents. It finally opened in December 2018, deeply in debt to Morris Bank with loans and lines of credit totaling nearly $10 million.

Making the business a success depended on attracting residents. But it struggled to fill beds, and in late spring 2019 the crushing debt forced the holding company into bankruptcy. Tranquil Gardens had only 12 residents at the time it was licensed for 78 beds. Last year during the pandemic, the home told the state it had around 30 residents each month.

Windsor, who had become executive director in February 2019, said she slowly learned about the financial troubles, as a utility company threatened to cut off power and internet service periodically was lost because bills werent paid. She said she didnt know about the bankruptcy until months after it was filed.

Windsor quit a couple weeks later. We were in our final hour, she said.

We did not initiate foreclosure, said Spence Mullis, president and CEO.

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Nursing Home That Evicted Residents With 3 Days Notice Owes Millions Documents Show

Channel 2 Action News has learned that an assisted living facility that gave their elderly residents three days notice that they would be evicted owed millions of dollars.

Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care informed their residents on Tuesday that the property was being foreclosed on and they would need to move out by Friday.

Were digging into the owners background and working to learn if the eviction was even legal, for Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m.

Outraged families have spent the week scrambling to move their loved ones out and find them new homes. Some of the residents are in hospice and memory care.

The owners sent a statement to Channel 2s Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose, reading, in part, A year-long shutdown due to COVID was something that we were unable to recover from as a new business.

Jose confronted co-owner Brian Stewart at the facility on Thursday and asked him some questions. During the heated exchange, Stewart repeatedly dodged Joses questions and asked Jose to leave the property.

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Whats going on over here? Is your property in foreclosure? Jose asked.

Im not interested, Stewart said.

Three days notice though? Jose asked.

Would you please exit the building? Stewart said.

A lot of people are upset, Jose said.

Jesus Christ! Are you f*** stupid? Stewart said, storming away.

Stewart did offer an explanation to one man, Ken Byers, whose mother is a resident at the facility.

A Scene Of Chaos And Sadness

Fissette said she was out of town when the facility announced its pending closure, which set off a harrowing scramble to find a new assisted living home for her parents, pack their belongings into her pickup truck and get them moved.

Facing a noon deadline on July 16 to clear out, Fissette said she couldnt get all her parents possessions out. Left behind, she said, were two beds, a recliner, a couch and many of her mothers shoes.

Worse, she worries the sudden change and upheaval will cause stress that could hasten their decline, a common worry for Alzheimers and dementia patients.

The final day at the home, she said she saw Stewart in the lobby area and confronted him. I hope you go to jail, she said she told him.

She said he replied: I have to take care of my family.

State Rep. John LaHood, R-Valdosta, who helped spearhead the assisted living reform law, said he is troubled by what happened to the residents. LaHood, who owns and operates five senior care homes in South Georgia, said he would be working with other lawmakers to review the rules and, if necessary, tighten them to ensure this doesnt happen again.

Its situations like these that give our industry a bad name, he said. The typical resident in an assisted living community is there because they are unable to live independently. Giving them three days to vacate is ridiculous.

This past Wednesday, as the bankruptcy court gave the bank the OK to foreclose, the scene at Tranquil Gardens was grim.

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