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Lawsuit filed against be.group over Twelve Oaks Lodge

National Charity League moves to block plans to shutter Twelve Oaks Lodge.

October 22, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • File Photo: The Twelve Oaks retirement facility is set to close, displacing 50 seniors. In a lawsuit filed by the National Charity League Glendale chapter, whose members have volunteered at and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Twelve Oaks over the decades, NCL claims the operator of the facility, the be.group, has not complied with Twelve Oaks' underlying charitable trust.
File Photo: The Twelve Oaks retirement facility is set… (Roger Wilson / Glendale…)

The Glendale chapter of the National Charity League has asked a judge to halt the closure of a senior-care facility slated to shut down on Nov. 1 and appoint a receiver to control the property, according to a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed last week.

LAWSUIT: National Charity League files complaint against be.group over Twelve Oaks Lodge

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of attempts by the charity league, local residents and City Council members to block the closure of Twelve Oaks Lodge, which has been operating for more than 80 years in La Crescenta.

In the lawsuit, the league chapter, whose members have volunteered at and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Twelve Oaks over the decades, claims the operator of the facility, the be.group, has not complied with Twelve Oaks' underlying charitable trust.

The league — which, at one point, ran the woodsy campus — claims be.group has abused its authority over the facility's finances and is attempting to sell it for a non-charitable purpose.

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Dan Hutson, a be.group spokesman, said the nonprofit, which operates several other senior facilities in California, was disappointed that the league filed the lawsuit on Tuesday.

“We're still hopeful that we can engage them in a thoughtful dialogue,” Hutson said, adding that
be.group is committed to serving seniors.

However, league representatives have said
be.group has not been open with them from the start. League members were shocked to see residents get notices in August that the facility would be closing and said they have had difficulty getting information from be.group.

According to the lawsuit, a be.group attorney refused to give the league minutes from board meetings related to Twelve Oaks.

The league handed over control of the foundation and the property to
be.group around 2002 after running the facility for three decades. Before that, it was under the control of the now-defunct Verdugo Hills Sunshine Society, a nonprofit whose goal was to provide an affordable home for seniors, the wish of the property's former owner, Effie Fifield.

According to the lawsuit, when the league handed over Twelve Oaks to
be.group, no money exchanged hands and a nine-person board of directors was supposed to make decisions. Four National Charity League representatives were supposed to be on the board.

While they served for a few years, by 2004 they had stopped participating, they say because they were told meetings no longer took place.

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