4/13/14

Still No Justice for The Kung Fu Judge

In a letter dated April 10, the Rev.Sam Boykin, nephew and administrator of the estate of the Hon. John Phillips, called out Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson for failing to keep a campaign promise to investigate how the prominent Brooklyn Civil Court judge, with extensive Bedford-Stuyvesant real estate holdings, died penniless under court-ordered supervision at an unlicensed Park Slope assisted living facility.

The circumstances of Phillips' guardianship and death became an issue in the 2013 Brooklyn District Attorney's race, with Thompson asserting in a debate at St. Francis College with then-Brooklyn DA Charlie ("Joe") Hynes that Hynes' office was obliged to find out how Phillips came to die at the 1 Prospect Park ALF.

“He died destitute, Joe. He died broke, Joe. He died in a nursing home and you did nothing to help him. Let’s keep it real, let’s be honest here,” said an angry Thompson.

But since taking office on January 1, Boykin, said, Thompson has failed to respond to his complaints and has dodged his phone calls. After faxing the letter to Thompson on Friday calling on the new DA to keep his campaign promise to investigate the facility, Boykin has turned to the media.

Boykin's letter asserts that his uncle was confined by court order to 1 Prospect Park ALF from May, 2007 until his death in February, 2008.

The next year, according to Boykin, facility owner Haysha Deitch ignored an order by the State Department of Health to immediately remove 36 bedridden patients from the facility's unlicensed dementia unit.

Boykin maintains that, while at least 6 of those patients have since died, 30 remain unaccounted-for.

When the Department of Health did a follow-up investigation in 2012, Boykin reported, it found that Deitch was still operating without a license -- and was still, as allegedly in his uncle's case, failing to provide prescribed diets to patients.

Boykin asserted that, in the absence of any incident reports detailing suspicious deaths at 1 Prospect Park ALF or any other accounting of what happened to the remaining 30 dementia patients that DOH ordered removed from the facility in 2009, the Brooklyn DA should investigate their whereabouts.

Boykin charges that the illegally-operated facility, by ignoring the DOH order to remove the bedridden dementia patients -- 30 of them still MIA -- could be guilty of criminally-negligent homicide.

The facility has been the target of numerous lawsuits, by Boykin and other relatives of patients.

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