Stein Tells Jews Not to Be Paranoid About Probes of Jewish-owned Nursing Homes

State Assemblyman Andrew Stein, Manhattan Democrat, said today that he often tells Jewish audiences not to be paranoid about the disclosures that Jews appear to be heavily involved as targets of investigations and indictments for alleged mistreatment of patients, and misuse and thefts of Medicaid funds in nursing home operations.

Stein headed a Temporary State Commission on Living Costs which last winter uncovered evidence of neglect and mistreatment of elderly patients in nursing homes owned by Rabbi Bernard Bergman and Eugene Hollander, both regarded as leading Orthodox Jews. Evidence also emerged at the widely-publicized hearings of diversion of Medicaid payments.

Stein also told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he has received many calls from Jewish communal leaders and similar expressions of concern from rank and file Jews over the fact that Jews have been spotlighted in his commission’s investigation of nursing home abuses. He said he responds by advising the concerned Jews not to feel “so self-conscious” that a Jewish problem is involved. He contends that no Jewish problem is involved and that he says so when the issue is raised with him.

TRIAL SCHEDULED FOR DEC. 1

The commission hearings led Gov. Hugh Carey to appoint a Moreland commission, headed by Morris Abram, a former president of the American Jewish Committee and of Brandeis University,

Bergman, his son, Stanley, and his accountant, Samuel A. Dachowitz. were indicted last. August by federal and state grand juries on charges of allegedly stealing $1.2 million in Medicaid funds, The indictments mainly involved a Bergman-owned facility in Manhattan, the Towers Nursing Home.

Bergman and his son are scheduled to go on trial here on Dec, 1 on the federal indictment. Dachowitz has pleaded guilty and will be a prosecution witness. The date for the state trial has not been set. Hollander was indicted in July on 52 counts brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, and by Hynes. No date has been set for his trial.

WANT VIOLATIONS ROOTED OUT

Stein said that while Jews had lamented to him over the fact that Jews appeared to be so prominent as alleged law violators in nursing home abuses, he felt that many of the Jews discussing with him their feeling that this was “bad for the public image of the Jew,” wanted the alleged law violators “rooted out.”

The youthful state solon said that in his public talks and in private conversations with concerned Jews, he stresses that many of the reporters who have covered both his commission’s hearings and the indictments of the Jewish nursing home owners are Jewish, and that the head of the commission–Stein–is a Jew. He said that this answer appears to satisfy most of the Jews who approach him.

Stein said he had learned that the investigations and indictments have had a “particularly harsh” impact on the Orthodox Jewish community but that he had received many calls from Orthodox leaders who, he said, told him they had known for years about the activities uncovered in the commission probe and that they were “glad it had come out.”

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