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South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Named administrator claims forgery

By Jon Burstein – South Florida Sun-Sentinel

June 26, 2008

A Cooper City assisted living facility abruptly shut down after the woman listed in state records as running the center told authorities she had no connection to it.

State authorities relocated all 12 residents of Nightingale TLC by Thursday, following a cease-and-desist order by the Agency for Health Care Administration. The order was issued after the woman who supposedly was the center's administrator demanded that its state license be rescinded.

Pembroke Pines resident Ruby Smith said she had no idea Nightingale's license was under her name. She had been approached more than a year ago to be the center's part-time administrator but declined, she said.

Smith said she never received a cent from Nightingale, in the 9900 block of Northwest 41st Street.
"My name was forged," Smith said. "This can't happen. It's defamation of my character."

Smith said she had been offered the part-time administrator job by Catherine Blackwood, the woman listed as the property's owner.

Blackwood could not be reached for comment Thursday. Someone who answered the phone at the facility declined to comment. State records indicate Blackwood previously ran St. Catherine's TLC, an assisted living facility, at the same location.

The Agency for Health Care Administration started relocating the residents Wednesday, with the last ones moving out Thursday, said Fernando Senra, an agency spokesman.

The center's closure came at a time when the state Department of Children & Families was conducting at least four separate investigations into alleged abuses there, agency officials said.

The chairman of Broward County's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program said Thursday he was relieved that Nightingale closed. The office reviews complaints about assisted living facilities.

"The residents will be much better off in another facility," said Dan Reiter, the program chairman. "That's my main concern."

Jon Burstein can be reached at jburstein@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4491.