Domain editor

RCH still relevant in Russell: rally against Eminent Domain spills over to city council meeting | New

RUSSELL The circumstances involving Eminent Domain regarding the Russell Convalescent Home are an ongoing and hotly debated topic.

A few dozen demonstrators, several of the 27 inhabitants of the RCH, at least one employee and a former candidate for the vice-presidency took part in a rally in support of the RCH on Thursday afternoon. A Spider-Man bouncy house, classic rock music blaring through the speakers, and a grill cooking food surrounded the Ferry Street building.

Several protesters stayed around for the 6 p.m. city council meeting in the town building across the street.

Protesters displayed signs accusing city council of wrongdoing and in particular Tracy Frye, the city’s lawyer, of corruption. His law firm is also on Ferry Street, as is his new business, The Nest Day Spa, both across from RCH.

When The Daily Independent stopped by Frye’s law office, partner Marie Troxler said Frye had just been released from the hospital and could not be present during the rally or for the board meeting. Troxler said Frye wanted to come, but Troxler begged her to stay home – and her health comes first.

Members of the Town of Russell government are currently unable to discuss the matter due to an ongoing litigation.

Other than a few events like a social hot dog this summer, the bulk of the dialogue had taken place on social media platforms until Thursday. Many concerned citizens who oppose the process – and the outcome of moving the current residents of the convalescent home – have spoken out against it.

Todd Schreier of the Schreier Group, a business consulting firm, is a Russell resident who sees it differently.

He said that almost everything represented by those who oppose it is incorrect. Schreier said the problem isn’t that people in the convalescent home need help, but rather are they getting the help they need at the Russell Convalescent Home?

“The image of a happy family is not an accurate image,” Schreier said. “On April 15 at 11:00 am, some people wanted to come and discuss what was going on in the convalescent home and see what we could do to help. “

Dreama Hedge, a medical supervisor at RCH, helped organize Thursday’s event. She also started a hashtag – #wereprettytoo – and organized a GoFundMe account with the goal of raising $ 100,000. At 6 a.m. Thursday, approximately $ 6,300 had been raised. She said all residents would be left homeless and “separated from the only family they know.” It will also put 12 employees and their families out of work.

Schreier, who was not at the rally but spoke to the newspaper before it, said Hedge made it clear that the convalescent home was not doing well. He also expressed his point of view during the community comments portion of the board meeting.

Schreier said Hedge told him it was in bad shape and malfunctioning. Schreier said he asked Hedge for evidence of his charges and that she provided him with photos and video evidence. These were posted on Schreier’s Facebook page.

Hedge said, yes, she gave this information to Schreier, but she said it was meant to be confidential and for the purpose of helping RCH. She said Schreier approached her first.

After investigating the matter, Schreier said he gathered his own evidence that the convalescent home fell far short of how it was presented publicly.

“He was not the shining pillar of the community as he was presented,” he said. Some of his evidence, he said, was provided by Hedge itself in the form of copies of inspection reports. These reports listed cases of bedbug infestations (in 2019), improper food storage, and the implication that some inspections had been “tampered with” for the establishment to be successful.

Schreier said he also filed a public information request, which any individual is allowed to do. He reported numerous reports of missing persons from residents of convalescent homes, violence inside the home between residents and a case of a resident setting her own bed on fire.

Former convalescent home resident with “reduced mental capacity” went missing and was later discovered to have died from a 45-foot fall from an overpass, according to a 2019 article in The Daily Independent .

Schreier said he hopes everyone involved will do their due diligence when it comes to uncovering the available facts and refrain from far-fetched charges he believes he can prove to be unfounded.

Schreier said it’s not ultimately about whether residents need help or not, because if someone does need help, then they definitely should be getting it. He believes that residents are not receiving this assistance in their current situation and would ultimately benefit from moving to another facility.

Seth Allton, of Cincinnati, said he learned about the situation thanks to Cohen and James Toller, a libertarian who ran for the House of Representatives in District 78. He said RCH did not not been properly informed.

Melissa Cox, from Ashland, agreed.

“(Hedge) and I started reaching out to everyone (in May),” Cox said. “I contacted the Kentucky Libertarian Party.

Says Cox of Frye, in particular: “When you own all of the properties in this block, you clearly have a conflict of interest.”

Those who spoke out against the Town of Russell in the community comments are not residents of Russell.

Cohen voiced his opposition to Eminent Domain and said the law needed to be changed. He said the town of Russell approached this issue in the wrong way.

“In these cases of eminent domain, they use the estimated land value, the value of the land tax, which is nowhere near enough for them to actually rebuild,” said Cohen, a libertarian who turned himself. presented to the vice presidency in 2020. “The next step would be to find donors – and we have worked on them before – and find entrepreneurs who are willing to work at a cost or a lower price than what they usually charge, and find someone who has land available that they are willing to sell some of it for them to build a new house and build somewhere, hopefully nearby. More importantly, they can stay together so they don’t having to break up what is essentially a family. ”

Prominent domain is a legal means that grants a government or its agent the right to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation. The payment involved is usually for the value of the property alone, and not for any business located on that property. It also does not allow monetary compensation for relocation expenses, as in the case of the Russell Convalescent Home where current residents will be forced to relocate. Nor would he pay the owners of the convalescent home for the costs of restarting their business in another location.

Opponents of the Eminent Domain case are voicing their opinion that the city is simply forcing residents out onto the streets, with no recourse over where they might live once their “home” is taken away from them. Opponents cite the fact that many residents have been at the place for more than 10 years, not expecting to live elsewhere.

Many of these opponents accused the Russell Town Government of illegal activity and corruption, and alleged that the property was unfairly seized for personal and possibly monetary gain.

The city government is precluded from confirming or denying any of these accusations.