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Democrats say Grand Rapids veterans home charges “inadequate”

military veterans
John M. Cropper
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democratic lawmakers in Lansing say the Attorney General is doing too little, too late.

The Attorney General announced criminal charges against workers at the state-run Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Schuette’s investigation of the veteran’s home started in May of 2016. This was after a scathing audit of the home revealed that workers falsified records, skipped room checks, and other issues.

But Representatives Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, and Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, said they sounded the alarm as early as 2013.

“He knew because we told him,” said Greimel, who feels the problems stem from privatizing staff at the facility. “And yet he did nothing. In fact he did worse than nothing because when veterans brought a lawsuit trying to stop the privatization, it was Bill Schuette’s office that fought them in court."

Greimel said Schuette is posturing for a potential gubernatorial run.

A spokesperson for Schuette said the charges speak for themselves.

Greimel and Brinks are also critical of the charges themselves. Brinks said after all this time, charging eleven workers isn’t enough.

“Simply finding some front-line care workers, filing charges against them, is inadequate for the scope of the abuse and neglect that was reported,” said Brinks.

Brinks said she also wants to see an end to privatization of care in state-run facilities.

“Abuse and neglect does not just simply happen in a vacuum,” she said. “There are supervisors, administrators, who were either looking the other way or failing to look at all and ensure that the residents in the home were getting adequate care.”

In a press release, Schuette said his office will continue to follow-up on any new complaints.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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