Joseph Schwartz, the former owner of Skyline Healthcare was arrested by officials at his home in Rockland County, N.Y. last week.
Schwartz recently appeared in the national media following an investigation by NBC News, revealing the collapse of his nursing home chain, which at its peak managed over 100 facilities in 11 states, accommodating more than 7,000 elderly residents.
The mismanagement and failure to follow infection control protocols at a Skyline facility in northern New Jersey during the onset of Covid-19 caused national outrage when law enforcement officers discovered 17 bodies crowded into a four-person morgue after receiving a tip from an anonymous source.
Wilkes & Associates Attorney Blake Fromang, who deposed Schwartz on several occasions while handling wrongful death suits on behalf of the firm’s clients against Skyline facilities, spoke to NBC News and provided deposition transcripts to assist with the ongoing investigative report against the former nursing home chain owner.
In one such deposition, Fromang asked Schwartz if he monitored the quality of care at his facilities, to which Schwartz responded, “I did not monitor, but I did make [staff] aware that that is what I want.”
Fromang followed up by asking if Schwartz put systems in place to assure resident safety, to which he replied, “I’m sure,” but he did not remember which systems.
During a bench trial argued by Fromang and Bennie Lazarra, Jr. in October against Schwartz and his wife, the preceding judge adopted a Magistrate’s $10-million-dollar verdict, including wrongful death and punitive damages.
While at the helm of running his empire, Schwartz “failed to pay employment and unemployment taxes for the 15,000 employees he had at 95 facilities across 11 states,” states a report by NBC News, which ultimately led to his arrests last week.