City sues nursing home over utility bills - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City sues nursing home over utility bills

Fort Gaines- Fort Gaines Nursing Home is more than $15,000 late on water and gas bills.

"It's a difficult situation. The people obviously are elderly," says Fort Gaines city attorney Tommy Coleman.

In December, the former administrator Shon Ingram signed this contract agreeing to make monthly installments on the $11,530 in back payments and pay any current bills by their due date.

But City Attorney Tommy Coleman says they only made one payment and their February bill, which was due on the tenth has yet to be paid, essentially breaching their contract.

"Hopefully we'll get this judgement and the court will order payment from the nursing home and we can get back on track," says Coleman.

Ingram left the nursing home at the end of January. The interim administrator Paul Shirley was out of town but did speak to us on the phone. He says Ingram told him all bills were current and he was unaware that the city had filed a lawsuit, even though Coleman says they were served on Monday.

The nursing home is a subsidiary of Accord Health Care Corporation, a company that owns three nursing homes and two hospitals in Georgia. Shirley says Accord's attorneys told him they were trying to make a deal with the city.

Shirley says drainage pipes connected to the city sewer system burst and eroded a 30 foot hole behind the nursing home. They've already began repair work and have already spent more than $9,000.

Shirley says the nursing home wanted to make a deal to get their bill reduced for the repairs they made or at least split the cost of the work with the city. He claims they were still making utility payments while trying to work out the deal.

"Legally we can cut them off. We've looked it up and we could do that and we might end up eventually doing that, but the council wants to take every step that they possibly can without inconveniencing the residents of the nursing home," says Coleman.

The interim administrator also claims no one ever told him the bills hadn't been paid, but he says he plans to take a check to city hall Wednesday and bring the nursing home's account current.

Posted by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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