State closing violation-riddled adult home; owners want to rebuild Evergreen

“A violation-ridden, rundown adult facility — including a history of poor care, maintenance, and vermin — is being closed and residents moved until the owners cure multiple health and safety violations through renovations, according to an agreement with the state.

The same owners also are seeking state approval to rebuild the Evergreen Court Home for Adults on nearby Lafayette Street, where a Spring Valley firefighter and facility resident died in an inferno on March 22, 2021. Criminal cases involving the fire and Spring Valley’s lack of inspections are continuing.

The closure of New Golden Acres Adult Home is expected by the end of February as residents will be transferred from the 79-bed facility at 11 Prospect St., according to a state official and a stipulated agreement with the New York State Department of State. The residents will have first dibs to return when the state approves the renovated facility, according to the state.

The Golden Acres Home in Spring Valley / Photo Peter Carr/The Journal News

New Golden Acres: Agreement with the state for closure pending renovations.

Inspection report: State Health Department record on New Golden Acres Home for Adults in Spring Valley,

The stipulation includes the owners canceling their Supreme Court actions against the state regarding administrative charges and potential fines.

In return, the state will not pursue fines, civil or administration charges, and sanctions in connection with the violations, according to the agreement. The owners have six months to close down and begin renovations based on plans submitted and approved by the state. The owners would have a year to complete the renovations but can seek an extension from the state.

If the violations are not rectified, the state has the option of taking remedial action and seeking daily penalties, the stipulation states.

The adult homes are family-owned

The owners named in the stipulations for three adult facilities are Joseph, Steven and Jeffrey Schonberger. Another owner, Phillip Schonberger, is not a party to the agreements and refused to sign, according to the stipulations. The family members live in Monsey. Their attorney, Lee Vartan, said Wednesday that he could not comment on the stipulations.

The Schonberger family owns several money-making assisted living facilities in New York but provides a corporate address in Lakewood, New Jersey, with the New York Department of State. Phillip Schonberger of Monsey is listed as the state contact for Evergreen Court, while Steven and Joseph Schonberger are named contacts for Golden Acres.

New Golden Acres: Vermin and poor conditions among 53 violations cited at Spring Valley facility

Evergreen Court: Fiire victim’s sons and firefighter’s family sue facility owners. What to know

The New Golden Acres closure comes after Health Department inspectors cited the owners with 79 violations resulting from 21 inspections from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2022. Five inspections resulted in no violations.

Another Schonberger facility — the New Village View in Highland, New York — was closed for violations and its residents transferred to another facility. The health commissioner issued an emergency order in June 2021 to suspend the facility’s certificate. 

The owners cannot reopen New Village View until the state determines the violations are cured, according to the stipulation for New Village View. The facility has 80 beds, 46 of which are part of its assisted-living program, according to the state. The state defines an adult home as a facility that “provides long-term residential care, room, board, housekeeping, personal care and supervision to five or more adults.” The state cited the facility for nine violations from nine inspections between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2020, according to the state health department.

“The New York State Department has issued Stipulated Orders for New Golden Home for Adults and New Village View to shut down and relocate residents beginning in late February so that the facilities can be totally renovated to the Department’s satisfaction,” spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said in a statement.

Hammond said that every resident can choose to return to either of the facilities because they will be given a preference upon admission. The department’s approvals for the facilities’ future operation will also be contingent on the ongoing sustained correction of their pending violations.

The Health Department violations at Golden Acres mention a wide array of standards not met:

  • Keeping a facility free of vermin and rodents;
  • Failure to manage the storage and distribution of medicine;
  • Substandard food storage and sanitation;
  • Substandard smoke and fire protection;
  • Odors and failure to clean;
  • Failure to supervise residents;
  • Peeling paint and cracked floor tiles, uneven floors;
  • Ventilation and air conditioning and plumbing are not maintained.

The citations also involved Golden Acres’ supervision of residents, including keeping track of their whereabouts, medication management, and providing the resident with proper dosage.

The Rockland Health Department also has inspected both facilities. Spring Valley officials, who are responsible for local fire and safety codes, contend building department personnel have inspected both facilities but can’t release their inspection reports due to the criminal investigation into the March 23 fire.”

Read the complete Journal News story here.