Rudy’s Agape House’s motto is “Assisted Living with Love.”
But family members of Alzheimer and dementia patients didn’t experience much love when owner and operator Nancy Cushman informed the families they had 36 hours to get their loved ones out of the facility located at 5426 18th St. W.
Jeannette Traylor’s 89-year-old mother-in-law had been staying at the facility for more than three years. Traylor said she received a call from Cushman on Wednesday evening and was told she had until 10 a.m. Friday to have her mother-in-law and her belongings out of the facility, “under police escort. What do you say to that?”
There were no police officers on hand by Friday morning, but staff members were busy packing up what they could. However, they refused to speak.
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“Everyone go inside and lock the door,” is the only comment one person said to a Bradenton Herald reporter. “Are you serious?” another asked as they scrambled into the building, closing and locking the door behind them.
Traylor, who said there were 16 patients at the facility, was told by Cushman that it was the landlord’s fault and they were not noticed of the eviction. Court records dispute that claim.
She knew this was coming, but she still collected everyone’s rent check on March 1. Anything and everything she told us is untruthful.
Jeannette Traylor whose mother-in-law was a resident of the facility
According to the Manatee County clerk of courts website, Cushman had not been paying rent for some time. The landlord filed for eviction in early February, and records indicate it’s not the first time Cushman has had financial issues.
Fred Moore, an attorney representing the landlord, said the eviction notice was for Cushman only and that arrangements had been made through the landlord to have new certified operator on hand.
“The complaint allowed the residents to stay, but I doubt the families were told that,” Moore said. “We had everything in place through (the Agency for Health Care Administration), and we certainly didn’t want a new person taking over an empty facility.”
Moore said he believes there were still five residents at the facility as of Friday. It was news to the family members who frantically moved their loved ones out.
“Nancy gave us a song and dance about how she was being evicted and told us she had unsuccessfully tried to work out a deal,” Traylor said. “She knew this was coming, but she still collected everyone’s rent check on March 1. Anything and everything she told us is untruthful.”
Mike Nuckols’ 81-year-old mother lived at Rudy’s for two years, and he wasn’t notified at all.
“This is really an unusual situation,” Nuckols said. “I’m lucky because I have a spare bedroom, so I had a place to bring my mother but my concern and what I’m upset about is for the folks that maybe don’t have a place to go. It’s just not the kind of behavior you expect from people who have other people so fragile depending on them.”
That I can’t wrap my mind around. It’s downright criminal behavior.
Mike Nuckols whose mother was a resident of the facility
Traylor said her mother-in-law’s belongings were infested with bed bugs, and they had to throw her bed away immediately. Nuckols said he contacted the Bradenton Herald several weeks ago about the living conditions but retracted his statements for fear of repercussions.
The Cottages at Bradenton assisted living facility confirmed Friday they took in eight of the 16 patients living at Rudy’s. Administrator Luan Morrow said all clothing and furniture coming from Rudy’s had to be stored outside until it could be fumigated for bed bugs.
“The only thing I took with me when I picked up my mother is her pictures,” Nuckols said. “I’m buying her a brand new wardrobe today. I don’t know why Nancy didn’t reach out to people and let them know of the situation. She’s known about it for months. And what’s especially upsetting is that she took everyone’s money on March 1 knowing this was going to happen. That I can’t wrap my mind around. It’s downright criminal behavior.”
It’s far from over, as far as Traylor is concerned, who said Cushman already has another, smaller location picked out to reopen another Rudy’s.
“I’ve talked to (Florida Department of Children and Families,) and they have opened a case,” Traylor said. “Other agencies are investigating it as well. If she doesn’t at least refund those March payments these people paid her, I’m going to open a class action suit. People pay thousands of dollars and she took their money knowing that a lot of them would need that money to pay to get their loved ones into a new facility.”
Natalie Harrell, DCF communications director for the Suncoast Region, confirmed an investigation has been opened, but she said she could not comment any further on the investigation.
“We do have an open adult protection investigation into the circumstances,” Harrell said.