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New details, lawsuit in home care closure

By Andrew J. Polk, Multimedia Journalist, andrew.polk@kvia.com
Published On: Mar 03 2014 08:24:37 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 11 2014 12:34:48 PM CDT

ABC 7 has uncovered new details and a recently-filed lawsuit for more than $400,000 in the closure of the El Paso franchise of Home Instead Senior Care. ABC 7's Andrew J. Polk reports.

ABC-7 is working to learn more about the sudden closure of a home-health business we first reported last week. After the El Paso franchise of Home Instead Senior Care was shut down by the company's corporate office, clients have been forced to find different care, and employees were suddenly left jobless.

The signs from the El Paso offices have already been taken down, but the closure has left a serious mark on many El Pasoans involved with the agency.

"This has undoubtedly turned everybody's world upside down. It has ripped apart families, it has ripped apart relationships, it has ripped apart friendships. It has taken away from so many people in so many ways," said a former employee, who didn't want to be identified.

Home Instead Senior Care's sudden closure last week left nearly 300  patients and 250 employees without care or work. The employee who spoke with ABC 7 said that the problems started months ago. It began with small problems, like collections calls, but soon turned into utilities being shut off.

"No fax machine, one day there was no phone. One day, there was a disconnect notice for the gas. It was unreal," said the former employee.

And then the coprorate office stepped in. They closed the franchise, saying it was due to "personal financial challenges facing the owner." There is another franchise in Las Cruces, that is completely separate from the El Paso operation.

For those in El Paso, some have managed to find jobs, while others are still looking.

"He has just done a number financially and emotionally and physically on everybody that had anything to do with that agency," said the former employee.

Neither the corporate office nor the former business owner returned my calls by our story deadline.

Beyond the human cost, the financial impact of this closure is becoming apparent. A lawsuit has been filed by T&T Staffing over allegedly unpaid staff leasing fees. The legal filings say over $400,000 went unpaid to the staff and management company in the last three months.

And according to former employees, there may be more lawsuits forthcoming over other unpaid bills in the near future.

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