Forest Hill Nursing Home abruptly closing, workers want answers and paychecks

Posted on: 5:03 pm, November 19, 2013, by , updated on: 10:49am, November 20, 2013

Workers at a Quad City nursing home say they were lied to about the facility closing and are looking for answers and their paychecks.

Employees at Forest Hill in East Moline say they received letters, dated November 19th, telling them the nursing home was closing because of “large financial losses.”  The letters told them not to expect paychecks until after November 26th, if then.

“Today is payday, and we came, and no checks,” said worker Rose Jackson.

“My phone is shut off right now and I was expecting my check to get my phone on. I got house payments, I got a grand baby coming,” said Anissa Sarazin, a housekeeper at the home.

Sarazin and other workers say over the past two weeks, elderly residents were suddenly being transported to other facilities in East Moline and Galesburg.  The workers say they were told the nursing home residents were going to be moved temporarily so Forest Hill could undergo some renovations.

On Tuesday, November 19, they say they found out that was not true.

“They said they were going to move them because they were going to fix the roof and the floors. It was a great big lie,” said Rose Jackson.

“They were trying to cover it up, like, everything is fine. ‘We’re just going to renovate,’”  said another worker, Beonca Jackson.

On Tuesday, a couple of elderly patients were seen with bags of clothing and other items as they were escorted from the building into white vans.  Bed frames, without mattresses, were stacked outside the facility.

“The residents are hurt the most, because we have a lot here that don’t realize what is happening. They’re scared,” said Rose Jackson.

Meloney Arnold, with the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state was notified Forest Hill was closing the same day workers received the letters.

“This was unexpected. We did not know the facility was closing,” Arnold said. “We received notice today.”

By law, Arnold says the facility has to give residents 90 days notice to leave. Nearly all of the approximate 80 residents, though, have already been transferred to other facilities in East Moline and Galesburg.

Forest Hill is owned by Michael Lerner.  Calls to Forest Hill for comment were not returned.

40 comments

  • Sandy Clark says:

    We are suing Forrest hill because they almost killed my husband so I am glad they finally got those people to decent places.

  • Disgusted says:

    Michael Lerner is truly the scum of the Earth. He has been lying to everyone for more than two weeks. He only cares about his own financial gain. At the expense of any an everyone else. These poor employees of his, told him that they were going through a remodel and this was temporary, he lied to the residents and their families as well. Then today he cleaned out the account that was used for paychecks. After his employees worked them selves out of a job. He had them help move the residents out thinking thy would all still have a job. He is a sick “man” and as far as the Illinois Department of Public Health goes, that is yet another lie. I reported this to them almost two weeks ago. Way to lie to save face Mr. Arnold. Way to protect the residents. Michael Lerner has been scamming and ripping people off for years. So this is nothing new. As far as the excuse of “great financial loss” ARE you kidding Mr Gem Health Care? You are a Millionaire. You own many places in Chicago. How big is your house, how nice is your car?! Let us see your bank statements. You are a pathetic excuse of a man, Mr Lerner always have and will be. And any one who was ever involved in any way.. I can only say one thing.. karma :)

    • arer245@yahoo.com says:

      I hear he is also in New York right now for a wedding and that is probably why he is not responding to anyone’s calls

    • Why is he still allowed by the State of IL to continue to do this to residents and employees of these nursing homes!! He will burn in hell!!! Very negative thing that is posted on here is 100% true-he’s a lying piece of shit!! He doesn’t have any respect for any human being, will lie to anybody-families, employees, the State, the city, and on and on. I’m embarrassed to have been involved with him and his former facility in Streator. The bad thing is the State doesn’t want to close a nursing home, as there is no place to place residents, thus they were of no help. Karma-all I can believe in is Karma-that all those luxuries he has will be taken from him & his family.

  • Anonymous says:

    “The county should not be in the business of putting new buildings up when there is enough buildings out there that taxpayers don’t have to pay for,” Michael Lerner, executive director of Forest Hill Health and Rehabilitation Center, direct comment from Michaels Lerner about Hope Creek nursing home given to The Quad Cities Times October 19, 2013!! Then why are you shutting one down Lerner?? and selling your cenus (residents) to another nursing home Riverwood in East Moline!!

    • no one knows the truth says:

      Finally someone is mentioning the company that “bought” most of the residents at forest hill. Its disgusting! Michael Rosen and Yam Management are the scum of the earth!!! And that is the honest truth.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think there should be a mention to the Unsung Heroes that are still at Forest Hill taking care of the remaining residents. Who also didn’t get paid today and know they will probally never see a dime from the check owed to them or the time they are still putting in there! But they are still there putting up with this mess that Mr. Lerner and his business partners from Riverwood (Michael Rosen, Yosef Meystel, and David Berkowitz) have started!! But those Unsung Heroes are staying there through it all because they are putting the needs of the residents in front of their own concerns or worries, at this point they truely are not doing their job for the money because they know that the money is not coming to them!! They are doing it cause it’s their job and they would never abandon the people(residents) that they are there to take care of, unlike Michael Lerner, Michael Rosen, Yosef Meystel, and David Berkowitz who don’t see the residents as humans but as paychecks!! Thank you to the UNSUNG HEROES in this mess!!

    • pam koehler says:

      I would still be there if they didn’t lay me off last week I love the residents they all became family to me and im hurting for them knowing the were lied to and they r stuck somewhere they do not know .

  • Sandy Clark says:

    I hope that this will bring to light how bad that place really was.

  • Mary says:

    Cheryl Brown, for example. What a good person you are. You could have said anything you wanted about Mr. Lerner but instead you thought more of your residents. Protecting them instead of putting your feelings first, until the job is done. Even trying to get the gentleman you were escorting out to laugh. When this has to be a breaking day for you. I applaud your strength and class just as I always have. May God Bless you.

  • Stacy Clark says:

    I will never in my life forgive forest hill for what they’ve done to my poor dad he’s such a loving vibrant caring man who wouldn’t do a bad thing to anyone and I almost lost him because of these people my dad used to love to go out to see the horse races and hangout with my uncle go out with me and my mom and just have a good time now he’s stuck in our house with no life outside because he can’t walk anymore his Heath problems are so bad now they broke him down but now they can’t hurt anyone anymore and for that I’m thankful but as far as this place goes it could burn .

  • poor patients! says:

    Actually Forest Hill was bought by new owners a few weeks ago…the same guy who bought riverwood and the nursing home in Galesburg…so as horrible as Michael Lerner is I think this is the new owners doing…the shipped all these people to other places that he now owns and he can build it up with private pay people after renovating…so he thinks … I just feel sorry for the patients that had to just leave there home and people who lost their jobs right before the holidays! all for the gain of what!!!

  • employee says:

    It is a sad time for us employees as well as the residents. We all stayed because we had care and love for our residents. We never had good pay or very many decent, working things but none of us could leave our people. We cried for them as they left and still do knowing so much is different for them as well. A little time money and care forest hill could of been decent. To bad some people could not see it so.

  • Samantha says:

    I just want to say thank you to all the workers who did show up for work to take care of the residents even if you did not receive your pay I am truly sorry for . As I watch the video I am crying because that is my big brother Barry and we was not told any of this till this am right before they moved him to Galesburg he has been fighting for his life for a great while with cancer and he is not laughing in the video he is scared and confused. We would like answers from the owners also whoever they are and where did the money go that the residents had to pay this month ? And where is the pay checks for the heroes that stuck it out for the resident??????

  • patients' rights says:

    Lets here it for the workers still taking care of the patients. Learner’s wallet soon made him forget the real reason that facility was there, to take care of someone’s mom, dad, grandpa or grandma, not “get rich”, hoard all the revenue and not put back into the facility. My heart goes out to the residents, who at their age, do not respond positively to change, especially living arrangements. As far back as I can remember Learner has been having people do his dirty work for him. He’s a little sheep of a man, and has no business owning or operating ANYTHING that has a responsibility as significant as caring for human beings. He should be scooping horse stalls…

  • looking for justice says:

    It makes me proud to know I worked with people who care more about other people than they do themselves. Micheal Lerner is a mouse of a man he always has been. He pays other people to do his dirty work. Just like how he and his pack sent people over from Riverwood, to take all the groceries out of Forest Hill with the instructions to only leave enough food for one meal!! Thank God the remaining staff wouldn’t allow this. How do you monsters sleep at night? These poor residents are to do what starve? You Michael Lerner are the devil! Pay those employees!!!!!!!

  • stillhanginginthere says:

    Some of these comments are great to read and others very hurtful ..I am one of the few that is still there hanging on and helping with the last few residents.We a small handful are there working hard for these people that still remain.and making sure they are comfortable and safe..We do this because we care ..It’s not for the money.

  • Sandy Clark says:

    When my husband was there he was treated horribly by some of the people working there. I actually had to help a couple of residents myself because the person who was working actually told me that she was busy on her cell phone talking to her boyfriend and she would get to it when she was done. My husband was in a coma for 8 days because of the people there and had short term memory loss and other physical issues because of what they did to him there. I hope that the people that were moved are getting better care then they received
    at Forrest hill.

    • brokinhearted says:

      Sandy I am so sorry this took place and your husbands life was effected by poor care..It is very sad that this happen to your family.But I will say that not all employees at foresthill were this careless or uncaring.As an employee of said facility .I will say I saw a lot of abuse take place there.Things were reported and nothing ever done..I’m guessing your husband was on station A.And I know the aids that worked on that floor and you are right smoking and cell phones were more important for some staff. During my time there I witnessed abuse of many form,On station B I saw verbal abuse ,Mental and emotional.So many things were reported and then it all seemed to disappear.It’s sad. I am very glad this place is closing and the ones that were good employees can move on and do the right thing. The worse part is , is that these poor employees are going to other nursing homes in the area so be aware..

  • Sandy Clark says:

    This is my husbands facebook post about Forrest hill:

    hi everyone today forest hill nursing and rehab closed for those of you who don’t know this is the facility where i was overdosed with medicine not even prescribed for me and waited 27hrs to call an ambulance and only called then because my roommate threatened to call the cops i was in a coma for 8 days was airlifted to st Frances med center my family was told that i probably wasn’t going to make it and if i did i would have severe brain damage well by the grace of god im here i am still bed ridden keeping the thanksgiving holiday in mind i am thankful to god for allowing me to remain here i want to thank my family and friends for all the prayers well wishes and words of encouragement i love all of you and that isn’t just words i mean that with all of my heart god bless all of you and your families as far as forest hill goes no comment

  • Helen says:

    I saw a post from Chris Minor. This is a perfect opportunity to explore all of the area nursing homes with the goal of educating the public on the realities of skilled nursing homes while also exposing the mistreatment and true failings of some of our local facilites. I have worked in some, visited family/friends in some and honestly,it can break your heart when people you don’t even know are asking, crying at times, for help and you can’t find staff. Residents are overmedicated and left sitting or lying in soiled sheets and clothes for hours at at time. There are multiple equipment needs, social needs and staffing needs that perhaps could be met thru high school/community college vocational programs, volunteers and community support. To the families of the residents at FH, I am hoping this can be one of those blesssings in disguise. That place truly was unacceptable and was progessively getting worse in my opinion but did have some truly, loving and competent staff. Sorry to be preachy but many of the problems of the residents in the lesser quality homes have addiction and mental health problems and are unable to advocate for themselves or are simply unable to change their ways. Smoking, alcohol abuse,drug abuse, obesity, poor preventative medical and dental care are usually noted in the medical history of these residents. The staff often times have these same addictions and stresses and are not supported (financially or emotionally) for the very,very difficult work that they do. Thank you.

  • a employee says:

    as a employee I am disgusted by some comments in this forum , and proud of others , ms . minor I cannot stress enough to you how much I want you to keep digging on this story ! IDPH has very clear regs on notifying them and notifying the family and power of attorneys for all residents 90 days before closing ,these rules and regs can be read by anyone @idph/longtermcare . These rules were circumvented by the owner of forest hills and his partners at Yam management and the owners of Galesburg care and riverwood east Moline , to put it in its simplest terms the owner of forest hill sold yam management his Galesburg business and included the residents of forest hill in that deal ,he allowed a rep from yam management to come into forest hill and represent himself as being directed by the owner , telling management staff that the owner was partnered up with yam and renovations was going to start right away and would need to temporarily relocate residents and of course he had room at two other homes recently purchased by yam management .He used high pressure sales and manipulation to get residents to agree to the move and rented school buses to facilitate the move as quickly as possible .as soon as those residents were transported the rep from yam management wasn’t heard from again. then of course workers were laid off , this was last week . then this week after YAM got what they wanted , the residents , forest hill owner shows up Monday morning and announces he is closing the building , so if you follow the story you see this wasn’t sudden this was planned by a company who has a well documented history of this exact same shady way of acquiring residents for there homes . after learning the name of those pulling the strings behind this charade , Yam management I had never heard of before this week , I did some research on them , it was quite revealing I encourage anyone who has loved ones in any of their homes to also research them , the internet has no shortage of well documented events at several of there homes all over Illinois and Indiana .You can also check Idph for a list of citations each of there homes have had as well as quarterly reports . Please don’t take my word research these people .! I know this comment is running long , but it just scratches the surface of what lead us to this shut down of a perfectly fine nursing home ! sure we had are share of problems and what not I am saying we weren’t a private pay 4 star resort , but we cared for our residents till the very end as the owner emptied the bank accounts and left us all empty handed .
    happy thanksgiving

    • Sandy Clark says:

      Some of the workers there did care about the people but, most did not and did some horrible things to some of the residence there. My husband was almost killed because of their negligence so I don’t really see how it was a “perfectly fine nursing home” at all.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think your missing the point of the previous post and or story. I’am truely sorry for anything that happened to your husband so please don’t read this the wrong way. Forest Hill may have had some staff that wasn’t good at there job but thats not the story here. This place is not being shutdown for any violations or wrong doings and actually if you look up there inspection reports they have had some good surveys by the state and there most recent survey was really good, this nursing home is being shutdown by GREEDY owners and the residents have been moved to other facilites owned by the same people. Thank you a employee^^ your post with this info really helped me see the truth behind these corrupt people. God Bless everyone!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Just some links toinfo about one of the owners of Yam Mangement who owns Riverwood and Galesburg Terrace and bought the residents from Forest Hill from Michaels Lerner!!! Seriously should read this to find out about the people who own the companies taking care of others loved ones!! http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com/2006/11/case-of-yosef-meystel.html

    • brokinhearted says:

      Anonymous
      Thank you for sharing this link. I wanted to know about this group and now I’m feeling sick because I do know.I pray for the residents safety. I hope someone will put a stop to this madness.

  • Sandy Clark says:

    I can’t believe that place had a good inspection report cause it was pretty bad.

  • a employee says:

    a open letter to the owner of forest hill ,we have been told that we will receive our last pay checks next week when the public aid payment is deposited , many employees here are awaiting that check , to buy groceries pay bills buy diapers for there babies and thanksgiving dinner .
    this payment from public aid is to pay for the care of the residents what these employees here at forest hill are still doing regaurdless.. you lerner have no rights to this payment ! it is more than sufficient to pay payroll , and everyone from the employee union ,IDPH ,and WQAD and other news outlets will be watching you if you steal this money from direct deposit ! so a word of warning pay your employees and stop worrying about linning your pockets with other peoples money!

  • A Former Employee says:

    When I worked there years ago, Forrest Hill wasn’t that bad but, I recently had a relative that was there and I couldn’t believe how far down hill that place had gone. If I would have bought that place I would have shut it down immediately and moved the people too.

  • a employee says:

    long after the camera crews and reporters had moved on to the next big story , after the cry of foul had faded a dedicated few has worked long hours still caring for the last of the residents , making phone calls doing endless hours of paperwork , taking angry phone calls ,packing personal belongings among many other untold tasks . all the while knowing that all though they have been told they will be paid next week there is no guarantee . these special people will never be the ones you see on the evening news , they are not dedicated employees they are dedicated people ! they are nurses and caregivers doing there jobs to the very end . cleaning up a mess that was not of there making.
    mike lerner and his yam management buddies could learn a lot about caring for the elderly from this handful of people !

  • Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this website needs a lot more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!

  • former employee 2 says:

    He should have all of his homes taken away from him. Just google what he did to Camelot Terrace in Streator.

  • Camelot employee says:

    He did us wrong as well here in streator. I am so sorry for what you all are going through… Residents and staff. He no longer owns our building here in streator. and doesn’t need to own any for that matter.

  • pissed says:

    I made a comment earlier on here and apparently it did not make it up. This s****** can ride for all I care. I worked for his facility in Streator For almost 5 years. This man is single handedly Ruined the lives of employees, residents and their families. He is a liar, cheater, a piece and a disgrace to this earth. And by the way LERNER where’s my vacation pay? And where is the pay for all of your other employees now at Forest Hill? Hope you’re having a wonderful vacation and enjoy living in your very large home and driving you’re very fancy cars because the rest of us has been damaged by you you piece of s***.

  • pissed says:

    *rot not ride

  • Anonymous says:

    Forest Hill was ran by a very honest and caring Adminstrator and her very talented Department Heads. Stop with the employee bashing and down talking of Forest Hill it may have had some incidents but what nursing home dosent.. None of this happened because of them this all happened because of greedy owners!! They were lied to as well ALL of them were told to move people beacuse of renovations then after they did all of the hard work of placing the residents they were told it was closing, they were all used!! Plus no residents were just moved without family or gurdians (if they had one) approved and they gave them options of Galesburg Terrace or Riverwood or they could find a different nursing home if they chose to. Why don’t everyone focus on the REAL story here Michael Lerener!! He does still own Galesburg Terrace he just let Yam Mangement take over the mangement of the building to get out of debts owed to vendors that are in his name and to start again with a different company name. Him and his pals Michael Rosen, Yosef Meystel, and David Berkowitz(who all own Yam Mangement and Riverwood nursing home in East Moline and the paper owners of Galesburg Terrace)are running a scam here to fill their other nursing homes. Why do you think Riverwood employees came and got beds and all med supplies from Forest Hill and the food delivery that Forest Hill recevied the day before the shutdown??? Run up bills under one company name close building down or switch owners and start the same routine all over again. Then I bet you when Forest Hill goes up for sell by the bank Yam Mangement will buy the building and start it back up magically with a different name!! Please do yourself the favor of researching these four men you will be horrified!!

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