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News-Press Editorial: Treatment of Twelve Oaks seniors is shameful

The opinion of the News-Press

September 16, 2013
  • File Photo
File Photo

In late August, 50 of our senior neighbors, residents at the idyllic Twelve Oaks Lodge facility in La Crescenta, learned they had two months to vacate its premises. The reason? Its operator, be.group, maintains that holding onto the property any longer is a losing proposition. Now the goal is to sell it to a developer who can build single-family homes on those attractive, tree-shaded 4.5 acres.

As we've reported, Twelve Oaks has a long history in the community. It was entrusted by a philanthropist in the 1930s to the Verdugo Hills Sunshine Society, which in turn gave the trust to the Glendale chapter of the National Charity League in 1976. The local chapter of the NCL diligently raised funds and saw to the care of the property and its residents until about 10 years ago, when it handed control over to nonprofit Southern California Presbyterian Homes, now known as be.group. Members of the NCL and their teenage daughters have continued to lend their efforts in support of the facility to this day.

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No money exchanged hands in the deal between the league and the nonprofit to which it entrusted Twelve Oaks. Now be.group plans to cash in on the largesse of the league.

There are recent developments to this story: The NCL is asking the state attorney general's office to weigh in on whether a sale is even permitted. Also, a developer who had reportedly entered into a deal with be.group to purchase the Twelve Oaks property has backed out.

But these glimmers can offer very little solace to the 50 seniors who have been forced to pack up their belongings on inexcusably short notice and leave the place they thought they would call home for the remainder of their lives. Be.group should be ashamed of the way it has betrayed the trust between the Twelve Oaks Lodge, its residents, the Glendale chapter of the National Charity League and the community at large.

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