Yesterday afternoon, 16 members of Congress from California sent a letter to state Attorney General Kamala Harris, requesting that the sale of Keiro Senior HealthCare facilities be postponed for a public hearing.
The effort was led by Judy Chu, representative of California’s 27th district, which includes Pasadena and Claremont. Chu is chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and ten of her letter’s 15 co-signers are also members of the caucus. The co-signers represent areas including Little Tokyo (Xavier Becerra), Gardena (Maxine Waters), and Silicon Valley (Mike Honda).
The attorney general conditionally approved Keiro’s sale of its facilities to Pacifica Companies on September 2. When nonprofits sell assets to for-profit companies, the attorney general’s office will hold a public hearing, unless—as in the Keiro case—the seller requests and qualifies for a waiver to forgo the hearing. Comments from the community were considered during an open comment period.
Kamala Harris was elected attorney general in 2010 and was reelected in 2014. She is now running for U.S. Senate. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the Fair Political Practices Commission, a state ethics agency, may investigate an anonymous allegation that Harris “received gifts that exceeded legal limits.” Her run for Senate will likely affect the way she responds to both of these issues.
The letter reads as follows:
“On behalf of the more than 600 elderly residents of Keiro Senior HealthCare (Keiro), we request that your office postpone the sale of assets owned by Keiro to the Pacifica Companies, and hold a public hearing before the sale can move forward.
“Keiro has served the greater Los Angeles area for over 50 years, and was established to provide broader care and nursing home services for the Japanese American community. It currently has four facilities serving over 600 residents throughout Los Angeles County.
“We understand that the pending sale of Keiro was not transparent to its residents and stakeholders. Keiro waived the option to hold a public hearing, and final details of the sale agreement were not available until after the public comment period had closed. This denied residents, donors, and family members the opportunity to weigh in on the impact of the sale.
“Details surrounding the sale of Keiro indicate that the option of long-term care for the Japanese American community is in jeopardy. Specifically, the terms of the sale offer no price protections for current residents after the first year. Furthermore, the residents have no guarantee that they will be able to continue living in their homes outside of a five-year period.
“The dire lack of safeguards for current residents can result in exorbitant rent prices, inflated costs for medical treatment and displaced seniors with limited options for care. Keiro residents chose these facilities to be a permanent home in their advancing age, and the possibility of their displacement is extremely concerning.
“Given that the role of the attorney general in the sale of non-profit entities is to ensure that the sale is in the community’s best interest, we urge you to postpone the sale of Keiro to Pacific Companies until a public hearing is held, and to take into account the results of that hearing before approving the sale of Keiro. This additional step will protect the future welfare and safety of the residents at Keiro and the public’s interests.
“The residents of Keiro Nursing Home are primarily elderly Japanese Americans, many of whom lost everything that they had when they were interned in the desolate camps of World War II. They were interned due to accusations of espionage. However, not a single case of espionage was proven.
“Considering the travesties of justice from the past, we believe that these senior citizens are the most deserving of the greatest consideration that our system can offer, and you are in a unique position to provide it. We urge you to ensure that these elderly Japanese Americans live the last year of their lives in the comfort they deserve.
“Thank you for your consideration in this matter.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), Maxine Waters (D-Gardena), Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino), Karen Bass (D-Lo Angeles), Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro), Michael Honda (D-Santa Clara), Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach), Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), Grace Napolitano (D-El Monte), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Commerce), Mark Takano (D-Riverside), Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), Norma Torres (D-Pomona), and Tony Cardenas (D-Panorama City).