The Federal Bureau of Investigations paid a visit to Georgetown on September 29, and according to court documents, the target was Southwest Regional Medical Center.
As if Southwest Healthcare of Brown County hadn’t suffered enough embarrassment with their bevy of debt and creditors forcing the hospital to close one year ago, the SWRMC offices were raided by the FBI. According to a letter from Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little to the Brown County Court of Common Pleas, the FBI executed a search warrant at the hospital’s offices and removed computers as well as other records. It’s unclear exactly what kind of records the FBI confiscated.
“We were conducting law enforcement activity in that area,” FBI Public Affairs Specialist Todd Lindgren said. Lindgren declined to elaborate further, citing agency policy.
In September 2014, Southwest Healthcare began to show signs that things weren’t going as well as they seemed. The organization was entrenched in an administrative legal battle with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, and soon after repo trucks arrived at the hospital to take equipment and furniture to satisfy an outstanding judgment.
After the court of common pleas ruled that the court could garnish payments to help repay debts to creditors, Southwest Healthcare administrators woke up on Friday, September 26, 2014 without enough money to pay their staff, and were forced to close the premises.
Since then, as the administration has jumped ship and left town, the hospital has moved even deeper into debt. Brown County Treasurer Connie Patrick filed for foreclosure on March 6, 2015 on five properties owned by Southwest Healthcare. According to court documents from the foreclosure filing, Southwest Healthcare allegedly had debts with multiple healthcare equipment groups such as the CIT Group and Georgetown Emergency Group, as well as individuals.
Southwest Healthcare also allegedly owed $444,007.14 in unpaid property taxes, interest, charges, and penalties to the county, nearly $1 million ($992,004.47) to the State of Ohio for unpaid unemployment compensation tax, commercial activity tax, and withholding tax, and $913,936.59 to the United States Department of the Treasury.
It’s unclear if or how much the hospital had paid down those debts by the time the foreclosure complaint was filed.
Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott T. Gusweiler granted a motion on May 21 to appoint a receiver, and Sumner “Sonny” Saeks of New Growth Advisors was appointed to be in charge of Southwest Healthcare’s remaining assets, as well as work on selling them off for maximum profit to the debtors.
Saeks did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story as of press time.
According to the court docket, a non-oral summary judgment hearing is scheduled for October 7, but both Little and Southwest Healthcare’s attorney Christopher Muzzo, a partner with The Furnier Muzzo Group LLC, have filed motions to extend the due date on their opposition to a memorandum in opposition of summary judgment.
Summary judgment is a legal term that’s defined as a court ruling that no factual issues remain to be tried and therefore the case can be decided without a trial, according to Law.com.