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Be.group responds to lawsuit

Documents show be.group wants money from Twelve Oaks Lodge sale.

February 06, 2014|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • Twelve Oaks Lodge residents Bill Hughes, 93, John Meilan, 90, and Jim Davidson, 91, march in front of the be.group in Glendale, protesting the company's closing of their La Crescenta residence on Wednesday, October 2, 2013. The company recently responded to a lawsuit filed by the Glendale chapter of the National Charity League.
Twelve Oaks Lodge residents Bill Hughes, 93, John Meilan,… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

A senior-facility operator wants a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to let it collect money from a future sale of Twelve Oaks Lodge — the surprise closure of which caused controversy late last year — according to court documents filed last Friday.

But a philanthropic group with deep ties to the La Crescenta elderly-care facility, which sued the senior-facility operator in October, believes Twelve Oaks Lodge shouldn’t have been closed at all nor should the operator, be.group, reap any reward if it is sold.

Be.group’s judicial request was filed on Jan. 31 in response to a lawsuit filed in October by the Glendale chapter of National Charity League, which asked a judge to halt the closure and appoint a receiver to control the property.

Despite the lawsuit, be.group still closed Twelve Oaks Lodge, forcing 50 seniors to move out of their homes, where many of the seniors thought they would live for the rest of their lives. A proposed sale to a Santa Monica real estate developer fell through amidst community backlash.

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National Charity League operated Twelve Oaks Lodge at 2820 Sycamore Ave. until 2002, when the organization asked be.group, which runs 33 senior facilities, to take over day-to-day management of operations.

No money was exchanged at the time, though, and National Charity League continued to be involved at Twelve Oaks Lodge, sending volunteers to spend time with the seniors, hosting events there and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the facility that operated for more than 80 years.

Before the league had control of the 5-acre woodsy campus, the original owner, a wealthy philanthropist, created a charitable trust, known as the Twelve Oaks Foundation, so her property would operate as an affordable home for seniors.

League members were shocked to see Twelve Oaks residents get notices in August that they had to move. Members of the group that fosters mother-daughter relationships through volunteerism even hosted a 100-person protest against the closure and tried to get the city involved to stop it, but to no avail.

Be.group officials have said they had to close the facility because it became too expensive to operate and it would be impossible to make capital improvements to increase efficiencies because of strict city zoning rules.

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