La Vida Llena Residents Have More Voices »Albuquerque Journal
Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
The state attorney general has found no misappropriation of funds by the La Vida Llena retiree community or its parent company, but the two nonprofits have agreed to give residents a greater voice in operations. financial resources of La Vida Llena.
The agreement signed on Tuesday by representatives of La Vida Llena, Haverland Carter LifeStyle Group and the Attorney General’s office aimed to address concerns raised by the GA’s office in late 2019 regarding the structure of the company and the conduct of business. companies.
“The company has agreed to make significant changes and focus on the safety of the community of La Vida Llena; and we will continue to work with other oversight agencies to ensure compliance and protect the safety and well-being of its residents, ”Attorney General Hector Balderas told the Journal in an email.
………………………………………….. ……………. …………..
According to the agreement, the GA “did not find any cases of embezzlement by (Haverland Carter) and found no evidence that (Haverland Carter) actions violated LVL’s charitable purpose.”
However, La Vida Llena and Haverland Carter have agreed to allow a majority of a reconstituted La Vida Llena board of directors to come from the community, including residents, and the board will have fiduciary responsibility, the agreement says. .
E. DeAnn Eaton, CEO of Haverland Carter, released a statement saying, “While we have vigorously challenged the wrongdoing of LVL, HCLG and members of our team, we have agreed to modernize the bylaws governing La Vida Llena. We did this to calm the concerns of the GA and to strengthen relations between our companies.
As the continuing care community for more than 400 Northeast Heights seniors, residents have paid significant entrance fees, sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, followed by monthly fees for lifetime housing and continuing care, including assisted living, memory care, and nursing home services, if required.
Some residents complained that their payments to La Vida Llena were being used to open continuing care communities in Rio Rancho and other states, creating a potential financial risk.
The GA office at the end of 2019 published an action notice expressing its concerns and requested mediation.
As previously reported by the Journal, Balderas wrote a letter to the state Department of Health stating that “Haverland Carter used his control of LVL to fuel the expansion of Haverland Carter by leveraging LVL’s charitable assets for the construction and acquisition of additional continuing care communities. Ultimately, these findings raise serious concerns about the fiduciary obligations Haverland Carter owes to LVL under the “Crown and Common Law Charitable Solicitations Act”.
The new agreement states that the GA has now withdrawn its “notice of action”.
The agreement specifies:
• Within three months, La Vida Llena will establish a board of directors to serve as the board of trustees of the non-profit company, replacing its current advisory board.
• Seven of the 13 board members must be residents or community members, and the board chair will be elected by the community directors.
• Where possible, at least eight board members should be members representing the four churches that founded La Vida Llena in 1979: The United Methodist Church in America, The Presbyterian Church of the United States, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
• Restructuring requires “shared approval power” between the parent company and the board of directors of La Vida Llena “with respect to the operating and investment budgets of the retiree community, debt and the manner in which certain LVL assets are sold ”.
While Haverland Carter and La Vida Llena “contested that the Attorney General’s concern violated any provision (of state charity solicitation law) because of their business conduct or their corporate structure. , the two entities have engaged in good faith efforts with the Attorney General to address and resolve the issues of concern, ”the agreement said.
“I am very happy to see that this has been resolved in a way that restores fiscal responsibility to the people who made their monthly payments and made quite a large initiation fee,” said Senator Bill Tallman, D-Albuquerque, who first contacted the AG’s Office about residents’ concerns in 2018. “This is a good example where government can step in and have an impact on people’s lives. “
Eaton told the Journal in a statement Friday that the company had worked with the attorney general for more than a year to resolve the issues and stressed that the AG found “no behavior that would harm any of our residents or their families, financially or otherwise “.
Eaton also said the revised statutes are “very clear” that previous financial decisions made by La Vida Llena will not be overturned.
She noted that “all previous actions of the board have been taken in accordance with the rules and regulations in force and to meet the charitable objectives of serving the elderly.”
The agreement states that the parent company and La Vida Llena undertook a restructuring in 2012 and amended its articles of association, which removed most of the decision-making powers of the board of directors of La Vida Llena and handed over authority to La Vida. Llena to its parent company. In 2017, the board of directors was renamed as an “advisory” board.
In a note to residents, families and staff this week, Eaton wrote that “The regulations will give clearer guidance on tax decision-making, what decisions should be made by (Haverland Carter), who are joint and who only at LVL. “
The attorney general’s office said that “issues of concern” resolved by the agreement “may be reopened by the attorney general for further proceedings at any time … if newly discovered evidence warrants such action.”
Tallman said the deal is a victory for residents.
“LVL residents should be very happy that their money is now under their control. “