TANGIPAHOA PARISH, La. — NOTE: The video report above is from approximately three weeks after Hurricane Ida
The man who owned a series of nursing homes that were evacuated to a warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish as Hurricane Ida approached and where several residents died has been arrested on multiple charges, the Louisiana Attorney General's Office announced Wednesday.
Bob Dean, 68, of Georgia, was charged with eight felony counts of cruelty to persons with infirmities, five felony counts of Medicaid fraud and two felony counts of obstruction of justice.
Attorney General Jeff Landry said that the arrest comes after an investigation revealed that Dean refused to move residents out of the warehouse following Hurricane Ida, that he billed Medicaid for dates the residents weren't receiving proper care and that he tried to intimidate and obstruct public health officials.
More than 800 residents from seven nursing homes in southeast Louisiana were housed at the troubled warehouse.
Four residents of the warehouse died before officials could evacuate the residents and a couple more died in the following days.
Inspectors from the Louisiana Department of Health were notified about the situation and initially tried to investigate, but said they were turned away.
Online booking records show that Dean was in custody Wednesday afternoon in Tangipahoa Parish. His attorney did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Dean had already lost the state licenses for his seven facilities after moving hundreds of residents to a poorly equipped warehouse as Ida approached. In May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it was prohibiting Dean from receiving federal funding, including Medicare.
Louisiana law allows nursing homes to decide where to evacuate while under a mandatory evacuation order, but requires they must provide a safe place for the residents.
"The owner of the homes had an obligation to move those residents to a better facility or ask for help," Governor John Bel Edwards said at the time. "He (Dean) did neither. In fact, what he did was try to prevent the Dept. of Health from coming in and ascertaining the condition of those residents earlier in the week."
The seven nursing homes the residents were originally housed at are:
- River Palms Nursing and Rehab in Orleans Parish
- South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab in Lafourche Parish
- Maison Orleans Healthcare Center in Orleans Parish
- Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home in Jefferson Parish
- West Jefferson Health Care Center in Jefferson Parish
- Maison DeVille Nursing Home in Terrebonne Parish
- Maison DeVille Nursing Home of Harvey in Jefferson Parish
Several lawsuits were filed over the conditions and the deaths. WWL-TV received several videos and reports that, despite COVID still being a major threat, mattresses were placed close together and there weren't enough resources or workers to handle the patients, many of whom needed intense care.
Ida blasted ashore last August as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S., knocking out power to all of New Orleans, blowing roofs off buildings and reversing the flow of the Mississippi River as it rushed from the Louisiana coast into a major industrial corridor.