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Saying Executives Put Profit Over People, LA's DA Announces Felony Charges For COVID-19 Deaths At Westside Care Facility

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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced charges Tuesday against a residential care chain for COVID-19 deaths at their west L.A. facility in 2020.
(ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
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The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office is pressing charges against a nationwide chain of memory care facilities alleging felony elder endangerment after 13 residents and one staff member died from a COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 after health and safety protocols were ignored.

District Attorney George Gascón said Tuesday that more than 100 residents and staff at Silverado Beverly Place in Los Angeles were also infected.

“It was one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in any assisted facility in California, ” Gascón said.

Irvine-based Silverado Senior Living Management and three of its managers — Loren Bernard Shook, Jason Michael Russo and Kimberly Cheryl Butrum — face 13 felony counts of elder endangerment and five felony counts of violation causing death.

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The facility should have been closed to all outside visitors and was barred from accepting new residents in March 2020, Gascón said.

“Despite these protocols, an exception was made to admit a patient from New York,” he said.

About the allegations

Brittany Ringo, a 32-year-old nurse who worked at Silverado Beverly Place, died after coming in contact with a COVID-positive patient who had been flown from a psychiatric unit in New York City, at the time the nation’s coronavirus hotspot.

In violation of the health protocols at the time, Gascón said prosecutors had evidence the new resident was not tested for COVID, nor required to quarantine in isolation.

The resident from New York City tested positive for COVID a day after being admitted to the facility.

The two-and-a-half-year investigation by the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety was triggered when administrators notified the state of Ringo’s death, as required by law.

“We believe that Silverado put the interest in financial gain in profit over the safety considerations for their patients and employees,” Gascón said.

“The 13 residents who died were mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles,” he added.

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Who died and who was sickened

The DA's office identified those who died:

  • Brittany Ringo
  • Elizabeth Cohen
  • Joseph Manduke
  • Catherine Apothaker
  • Jake Khorsandi
  • Albert Sarnoff
  • Dolores Sarnoff
  • Myrna Frank
  • Frank Piumetti
  • Jay Tedeman
  • Luba Paz
  • Kaye Kiddoo
  • Richard Herman
  • Michael Horn.

Ringo, 32, was the youngest. The oldest person who died was 93. In addition, 45 employees and 60 residents were infected and sickened by the virus.
Silverado Senior Living operates 28 sites nationwide with more than 1,670 employees. LAist has reached out to the company for comment, we'll update this story when they respond.

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