Patients moved, workers let go as Bridgeport Manor closure nears
Only a handful of residents remain at Bridgeport Manor and a head administrator at the organization has been let go as the embattled nursing home at 540 Bond St. marches toward closure.
“Obviously, this is a really challenging and stressful time for everyone,” said Larry Dorman, a spokesman of Council 4 AFSCME, the parent union of Local 1522, which represents about 400 employees of both Bridgeport Manor and its parent company, Bridgeport Health Care Center at 600 Bond St.
Bridgeport Manor announced over the summer that it would shut down, leaving about 200 employees jobless, and requiring patients to be moved to other facilities.
There are less than 10 patients left at the 240-bed nursing home, said Sherrie Weller, president of AFSCME Local 1522.
“Once the residents are completely relocated, the manor will shut down,” Weller said, adding that could happen in a few weeks.
Bridgeport Manor building administrator Carla Ward has been let go, as have two staff members at Bridgeport Health Care — building administrator Christopher Massaro and nursing supervisor Twan Brown. Though the health care center is the parent to Bridgeport Manor, the center is not closing.
Weller said only 20 of the employees the union represents have been laid off so far, and another, smaller group have accepted early retirement or voluntary layoffs.
Bridgeport Manor and Bridgeport Health Care Center have faced financial woes for several years. In 2016, Chaim Stern, chief financial officer for Bridgeport Health Care Center, was sued by the U.S. Department of Labor for allegedly diverting $4 million in retirement plan assets to a New York-based religious corporation and to himself.
The case is still pending.
The retirement plan was for employees and beneficiaries of both Bridgeport Health Care Center and Bridgeport Manor. The facilities have recently faced other problems: workers not being paid on time, insufficient funds in the credit union and failing to pay a third-party administrator that manages workers’ health benefits.
In April, Bridgeport Manor filed for bankruptcy. After an evaluation, a trustee appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court made a motion to close the facility.
When called Monday, Bridgeport Manor Chief Operating Officer Kate Sacks referred comment to the court-appointed trustee, Jon Newton, who didn’t respond to an email Monday afternoon.
Despite the tension, Weller said the remaining staff has been committed to serving the residents still at the manor.
“Their purpose has been for the patients,” she said.