The residents of La Vida Llena get extra say »Albuquerque Journal
Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
The Attorney General found no misuse of funds by the La Vida Llena retiree community or its parent company, but both non-profit organizations have agreed to give residents more say in La Vida Llena’s financial operations.
The agreement, signed on Tuesday by representatives from La Vida Llena, Haverland Carter LifeStyle Group and the Attorney General’s Office, aimed to address concerns the AG’s office raised in late 2019 regarding the corporate structure and conduct of the companies.
“The company has agreed to make important changes and focus on the safety of the community of La Vida Llena; and we will continue to work with other regulatory agencies to ensure compliance and protect the safety and wellbeing of residents, ”Attorney General Hector Balderas told the Journal in an email.
………………………………………….. ………….. …………..
According to the agreement, the AG has “not uncovered any case of misappropriation of funds by (Haverland Carter) or uncovered evidence that (Haverland Carter) acts were contrary to LVL’s non-profit purpose”.
However, La Vida Llena and Haverland Carter agreed that the majority of La Vida Llena’s newly formed board of directors would be from the local community, including residents, and the board will be held in trust, the agreement says.
E. DeAnn Eaton, CEO of Haverland Carter, made a statement stating: “While we vigorously denied the misconduct of LVL, HCLG and our team members, we have agreed to modernize La Vida Llena’s Articles of Association . We did this to allay the concerns of the AG and to strengthen the relationship between our companies. “
As a continuous care community for more than 400 seniors in Northeast Heights, residents have paid substantial entrance fees, sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, followed by monthly fees for lifelong living and continuous care, including assisted living, memory care, and nursing home services if required.
Some local residents complained that their payments to La Vida Llena were being used to open ongoing care communities in Rio Rancho and other states, creating a potential financial risk.
The AG’s office published a notice at the end of 2019 in which it expressed its concerns and requested mediation.
As the Journal previously reported, Balderas wrote a letter to the state health department stating, “Haverland Carter used its control over LVL to fuel Haverland Carter’s business expansion by using LVL’s nonprofit assets for construction and acquisition additional care communities used. Ultimately, these results give rise to serious concern about the fiduciary duties that Haverland Carter LVL owes under the state’s Charitable Solicitations Act and common law.
The new agreement states that the AG has now withdrawn its “notification of the lawsuit”.
The agreement states:
• Within three months, La Vida Llena will set up a board of directors to act as the trustee board of the nonprofit, replacing the current advisory board.
• Seven of the 13 board members are to be residents or parishioners, and the chairman of the board is elected by the community leaders.
• If possible, at least eight board members should be members of the four churches that founded La Vida Llena in 1979: United Methodist Church of America, Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
• The restructuring requires “shared consent” between the parent company and La Vida Llena’s Board of Directors “in relation to the senior community’s operating and capital budgets, the taking on of debts and the manner in which certain LVL assets are disposed of”.
While Haverland Carter and La Vida Llena “denied that the Attorney General’s concern because of their business conduct or corporate structure constituted a violation of any provision (of the State Public Service Act), both companies made a bona fide approach to soliciting the Attorney General” for worrying issues to address and solve “, it says in the agreement.
“I’m very pleased that the solution has been resolved to reimburse the financial responsibility of the people who paid their monthly payments and quite high enrollment fees,” said Senator Bill Tallman, D-Albuquerque, who first referred to the AG the concerns of local residents in 2018. “It is a good example of where the government can intervene and influence people’s lives.”
Eaton said in a statement to the Journal on Friday that the company had worked with the attorney general for more than a year to address the concerns, and stressed that the AG “has not identified any conduct that has financially or otherwise harmed our residents or their families has harmed “.
Eaton also said the revised bylaws are “very clear” that previous financial decisions made by La Vida Llena will not be reversed.
It stated that “all previous actions of the board of directors were carried out in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations and with a view to the non-profit purposes of the service for seniors”.
The agreement states that in 2012 the parent company and La Vida Llena undertook a reorganization and changed their articles of association, removing most of the decision-making powers from the then Board of Directors of La Vida Llena and transferring powers over La Vida Llena to their parent company. In 2017 the board was renamed “Advisory Board”.
In a memo to residents, families and employees this week, Eaton wrote, “The Bylaws will provide clearer guidance on financial decision-making which decisions should be made by (Haverland Carter) that are common and exclusive to LVL. ”
The Attorney General stated that the “issues of concern” resolved by the agreement “can be brought up at any time by the Attorney General for further proceedings …
Tallman said the deal was a victory for residents.
“LVL residents should be delighted that their money is now under their control.”