Irvine-based Silverado Senior Living Management Inc. and three of its managers were acquitted of COVID-19-related deaths of a nurse and 13 residents of a Los Angeles residential care facility.
Dismissal of Criminal Charges
In February, Silverado Senior Living Management, Inc., its CEO Loren Bernard Shook, administrator Jason Michael Russo, and vice president Kimberly Cheryl Butrum were charged with 13 felony elder endangerment and five felony violations causing death counts. Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed the case Wednesday. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated Friday that it still believes in the case’s strength. Silverado Memory Care has stated that during the next several days, their staff will get together to discuss the next steps that need to be taken. The claims were “quickly and easily dismissed” before the case even went to trial.
According to the corporation, these accusations were brought forth by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office early this year in what was described as an outrageous attack not just on our organization but also on our brave caregivers. The judge dropped all allegations against Silverado, leaving him to wonder why the charges were filed, which drained the already-burdened court system. In March, District Attorney George Gascón announced the accusations against Silverado Beverly Place after the facility reported the April 20, 2020, death of 32-year-old staffer Brittany Ringo.
Silverado closed the facility to outside visitors in March 2020 per protocols. At a March 14 press conference, the county’s chief prosecutor said an exception was made to accept a New York patient despite these protocols. Ms. Ringo died from COVID-19 after being exposed while working as a registered vocational nurse at Silverado on March 19, 2020, to admit this new resident who came directly from the airport. This patient arrived from a New York clinical setting, a COVID-19 hotspot.
According to the district attorney, the new resident, who had COVID-19 symptoms the morning after arriving and tested positive that evening, was not immediately tested and did not have to remain in isolation as required by health guidelines. These guidelines were designed to slow the spread of this hazardous virus, particularly among vulnerable people. Gascón stated that there are proofs that show protocols were not followed due to budgetary considerations for adopting this New York patient. The district attorney reported that 13 patients and more than 100 staff members were diagnosed with COVID-19 and died less than a month after Ringo tested positive six days after the new resident arrived. The other victims were Elizabeth Cohen, Joseph Manduke, Catherine Apothaker, Jake Khorsandi, Albert and Dolores Sarnoff, Myrna Frank, Frank Piumetti, Jay Tedeman, Luba Paz, Kaye Kiddoo, Richard Herman, and Michael Horn.
“We do not have to prove that COVID was brought in by this particular patient,” said DA fraud and corruption prosecutor Marc Beaart. A statement issued one month ago by Silverado’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, Jeff Frum, stated that all that was required was to establish that the test was positive and that there were procedure violations. In it, he stated that the firm “denies all charges filed against us — they are baseless and egregiously contradict the facts.” We can’t wait to make our case in this debate. “We will always grieve the loss of the residents to the pandemic and the frontline hero who cared for them,” Frum added. “We have taken the pandemic seriously from the start. We recognized COVID-19’s unparalleled threat to society, especially dementia patients and caregivers. Silverado pioneered dementia guidelines that became industry norms.
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