Whitesburg KY

State now controls Jenkins rest home; judge appoints Bell

A judge has given the commonwealth control of a troubled Jenkins rest home where a resident wandered away and was later found frozen to death.

Letcher County Circuit Judge Samuel Wright granted a temporary restraining order on June 9 and appointed Linda Bell, who has a master’s degree in public health, as a receiver for the Golden Years Rest Home.

The court noted in granting the order that the home was unable to account for a large amount of residents’ personal funds and noted the operation of Golden Years is “hazardous to the safety or well-being of the public and the residents.”

The court order came in response to a lawsuit filed June 9 against the home by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

Letcher County Golden Rest Home, Inc. is “restrained from the sale, lease, exchange, mortgage, pledge or disposition of the assets of Golden Years Rest Home until a full hearing can be heard.”

A hearing scheduled for June 23 will determine whether a permanent receiver is necessary. Until then, Bell, of Whitesburg, will volunteer her services.

According to the order, Bell “will have full access to any book, record, bank statement, invoice, tax return, correspondence, receipt or any such business document or record of Golden Years Rest Home.” She has the “power to carry on business including paying the employees of Golden Years Rest Home reasonable compensation for services rendered.”

Jonah Tackett, chairman of Golden Years, did not return phone messages seeking comment.

Conway applauded the judge’s order in a statement.

“I am pleased that the court, after careful consideration, has agreed with the concerns we have outlined and taken quick action to protect the residents and interests of Golden Years Rest Home,” he said.

The home in Jenkins, which is licensed to care for 44 residents, has been censured by the state multiple times for failing to protect residents and has been cited twice since 2009 for serious regulatory violations.

The non-profit home provides care for people who need assistance, but don’t need a full-time nursing home.

Problems documented at the home since 2007 include the conviction of former administrator James “Chum” Tackett, 69, on abuse charges; the death of Larry Bruce Huff, a resident who wandered away and froze to death; and an indictment last year of James Tackett for allegedly taking $500,000 in payments to residents over four years.

James Tackett, who is the grandfather of Jonah Tackett, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the order, Letcher County Golden Years Rest Home, Inc. is restrained from carrying on any business except through the authority of Bell.

— From AP, staff reports.

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