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Lawyers say bankruptcy won’t affect Autumn Breeze residents

POSTED: February 5, 2014 10:49 p.m.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is not expected to affect residents of the Autumn Breeze assisted living community in Gainesville, according to lawyers handling the case.

“Operationally, it shouldn’t affect the patients or the patient care,” said J. Robert Williamson, attorney with Atlanta law firm Scroggins & Williamson.

The bankruptcy case stems from unpaid property taxes, which led the “passive” owners of the property, who lease the real estate, building and equipment to Autumn Breeze, to declare default, according to Williamson.

But the real conflict appears to be about sorting out the lease agreement and day-to-day control of Autumn Breeze, located at 2215 Old Hamilton Place.

“(The bankruptcy) was really more driven by a dispute between (Autumn Breeze) and the landlord of the facility,” Williamson said.

The owners of the property, a group of five individuals, hired a manager and representative to oversee their interests, Williamson said. He believes that manager is now trying to push Autumn Breeze out.

“It appears he’s trying to take control back, basically, and operate the facility,” Williamson said.

According to a Georgia Northern Bankruptcy Court docket, Williamson is required to present by July 23 his Chapter 11 plan for dealing with assets and liabilities.

According to filings, SCG Autumn Breeze Operator LLC, the Tampa, Fla.-based corporate owners of the senior living and Alzheimer’s care facility, lists its liabilities and assets as both being between $100,000 and $500,000. The company has more than 80 creditors, including the city of Gainesville, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Department of Labor.

The bankruptcy court is requiring that a health care ombudsman be appointed by Feb. 23 to ensure patients’ interests are represented.

“That’ll be additional assurance that the patient care is going to continue as business as always,” Williamson said. “Obviously, it doesn’t do anybody any good if you’re not putting out a good service ... and maintaining high standards.”



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