NEW ORLEANS — Already facing several lawsuits and the foreclosure of his seven Louisiana nursing homes following the ill-fated evacuation of more than 800 patients in the wake of Hurricane Ida, Bob Dean Jr. was his own worst enemy earlier this month, Georgia authorities said.
The Thomaston Police Department, outside of Atlanta, confirmed Monday that Dean blew his thumb off when he accidently discharged a .357-revolver while showing it to someone.
The police department said that on March 4, Dean, 68, was charged with reckless conduct, firing a weapon near a public road and firing a weapon on another person’s property.
“Mr. Dean seems to make his own problems. For lack of a better word, he's one of the most toxic defendants I've ever seen,” said attorney Madro Banderies, who has filed two of the pending lawsuits against Dean related to the evacuation, which the Louisiana Department of Health says led to the deaths of at least five patients.
A radio station based in Thomaston, where Dean says he now lives, reported that the shooting took place at a car dealership when he was moving guns from one vehicle to another. After the shooting, Dean returned to his remote lakefront mansion, where Thomaston police said he refused medical help and ordered officers off of his property.
Dean has not been arrested, but an affidavit of the charges has been signed by a magistrate judge, a spokesman for the Thomaston Police Department said.
While the shooting case is pending, Dean suffered a different type of setback in Louisiana last week when he tried to argue that he had permanently moved to Georgia three days after Hurricane Ida made landfall. That would have allowed him and his attorneys to move the lawsuits against him to the perceived friendlier venue of federal court.
But not only did U.S. District Judge Lance Africk deny Dean's motion, he cast serious doubt about Dean's claim that he lived in Georgia at the time of the storm.
In the 32-page ruling, Africk stated that Dean was ordered to prove his new domicile by producing “credit card statements, travel documentation, or bank records.” Dean did not produce any of those documents, Africk wrote.
While Dean owns the 474-acre estate in Thomaston that includes the historic “Hightower House,” Africk noted that Dean also owns furnished homes in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. And, along with his wife and business, Bob Dean Enterprises, Dean also co-owns homes in Atlanta, New Mexico, Florida and Maine, Africk noted.
In the 32-page ruling, Africk wrote, “Regardless of the reasons for Dean's ‘conflicting statements and actions,’ the court affords Dean's statements ‘little weight’ insofar as they are inconsistent with Dean's other statements or objective facts.”
“It's very judicial talk, but it's strong language no matter how you look at it,” Banderies said, noting that the depth and directness of the ruling would make a successful appeal by Dean a longshot.
Banderies is pursuing a lawsuit against Dean in Jefferson Parish for a woman who had her leg amputated after her grueling evacuation, as well as a class action suit in New Orleans. He said he will now press ahead with the suits in the local courts.
“A state court can manage this,” he said. “These are state claims. They should be here.”
How much Dean is going to be able to defend himself at all remains up in the air. In a previous motion, Dean's attorneys argued that he should not be forced to participate because he has dementia.
John McLindon, one of Dean's Louisiana attorneys, said he heard about his client’s gun injury and the charges stemming from it, but has not talked to him about it.
“I hope he’s OK, but I haven’t talked to him about it, so I really don’t know much,” McLindon said. “I’m not involved in that part of the case.