Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Democrats slam DeVos on stake in troubled assisted care firm Alterra

Facts on the Alterra case come out.

In Monday night’s debate, Granholm, a Democrat, said DeVos had failed to disclose his investment in Alterra Health Care, a Milwaukee-based firm that went bankrupt in 2003 amid charges of patient neglect and abuse. She said DeVos had owned 12 million share of Alterra’s stock.

DeVos responded that he had owned less than 1% of Alterra’s shares and that he didn’t disclose it because his disclosure statement dealt with investments he currently holds. He also said he became aware of Alterra’s problems with patient care "just recently."

If Dick became aware "just recently", either he wasn't very attentive to his own business dealings, or he is yet again being deceptive about the truth. Which one do you think it is? Read on-

On Tuesday, Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, released Alterra corporate documents showing that the DeVos family had at least the potential for far greater control of the company than DeVos’s statements during the debate would indicate.

According to Alterra’s corporate bylaws, terms of the DeVos investment in Alterra gave the family the potential ability to name Alterra’s president, control its annual budget, and veto any major corporate moves such as issuing new stock or dividends, among other actions.

At its height in 2002, Alterra operated more than 400 assisted-living homes in 24 states catering to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments. It was the largest such company in the nation.

In spring 2000, DeVos and his extended family were the lead investors in a $173 million bankrolling of Alterra. The family, working through a network of partnerships and foundations, bought unsecured bonds known as debentures that could have been converted to common stock and a special Class A stock.

DeVos never converted the bonds, but stuck his buddy in as chairman.

Jerry Tubergen, a DeVos associate who runs RDV Corp., the family’s private money-management firm, became Alterra’s chairman at the time. The DeVos family is among the wealthiest in America.

DeVos’s campaign spokesman, John Truscott, said the family never converted the bonds and so never exercised the broad control that they could have.

After the DeVos family made their investment, Alterra lost more than $500 million over the next couple of years, filed for bankruptcy in 2003, and parts of it were sold to other firms. Truscott said the family lost money in the deal but not how much.

He's a "successful" businessman, that Dick.

From at least 1999, before the DeVos investment, on through the years the family held their investment, Alterra was the subject of multiple complaints, lawsuits, and investigations in Michigan and other states stemming from patient neglect and possible physical and sexual abuse in some of its facilities.

On Monday night, he said he learned of the problems “just recently.” Alterra’s problems, and those of the entire assisted-living industry, were the subject of widespread media coverage.

Time magazine did a major story dealing with Alterra in 2001, and USA Today did an extensive investigation of Alterra in 2004.

But Dick didn't know about that. Right.

We are gonna get nasty now, kids- Dick is firing back later today.

Meanwhile, DeVos has scheduled an afternoon press conference "to provide the public with disturbing facts about Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s personal investments," according to a campaign press release.

And here I thought I wouldn't have stuff to write about.

Hang on for the ride.

UPDATE: 4:29PM- Here are Dick's "disturbing facts".

Later Tuesday, DeVos tried to tie Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm to investments made by the state of Michigan in two companies he said have engaged in abuse and neglect of nursing home patients.

"The governor is accusing me when in fact the same actions could be said of the governor under her direct responsibility and control," he said during a news conference in Novi. "This is a double standard."

Granholm campaign spokesman Chris De Witt said the governor had no say in the state's decision to invest in Community Health Services and Health Management Associates. Most state investments involve retirement systems covering state workers and state employees and are overseen by the state treasurer and the state Bureau of Investments.

"The law precludes the governor from making investment decisions. ... DeVos made a personal decision to take control of Alterra. That is a huge difference," De Witt said. "All of Gov. Granholm's investments are included in her tax return."

She didn't choose it and she did disclose it. Uh... yeah. Thanks for playing Dick. Here are some lovely parting gifts.