Veteran Illinois political reporter Kurt Erickson has detailed new bombshell revelations exposing yet more direct links between Bruce Rauner and the mistreatment and deaths of the most vulnerable of Americans.
It's a theme very similar to the nursing home story I first broke back in January involving the elderly. Now we learn about Rauner-linked mistreatment involving the developmentally disabled living in long-term care homes.
This time it's American Habilitation Services (AHS) at issue - a company formed by Rauner and his fellow GTCR partners in 1996. AHS operated a chain of long-term care facilities in multiple states.
"Among the problems outlined in court cases, state records and multiple media reports are the deaths of developmentally disabled residents in bathtubs, 'deplorable' living conditions, sexual assaults and a failure by employees to stop residents from harming themselves."
At an AHS facility in Houston, Texas things got so bad "the state was forced to take over the facility after the March 2005 death of an 11-year-old resident."
Erickson also reports that AHS "was sued by the Texas attorney general in 2003 for failing to protect a female resident of a home in Austin from sexual assaults by an employee."
Things went downhill fast with AHS - just as they did with Rauner's foray into the nursing home business.
In a March 1996 press release, Rauner's firm crowed about AHS: "GTCR specializes in industry consolidation investments which should prove useful in the highly fragmented industry of care-providers for those with mental retardation/developmental disabilities."
Rauner isn't crowing about AHS now. Just like with the nursing home chain Rauner's firm ran into the ground, we get the same lame excuse when it comes to the developmentally disabled. Rauner's campaign claims the candidate was not involved in "the day-to-day management" of the company.
Unfortunately for Rauner his "I know nothing" shtick only makes this scandal worse. Rauner is essentially admitting he functioned just like an absentee landlord. He was happy to be an owner of these deplorable facilities and to gorge on the cash flow where he could - but there is no evidence to date to suggest he ever personally lifted a finger to alleviate the suffering of innocent people within the direct scope of his control.
Just like with the elderly in the nursing homes, when it came to the developmentally disabled, Rauner's business philosophy was apparently "churn and burn."
Some will no doubt want to cut Rauner some slack. After all it's time consuming securing an extra $100,000 parking space and engineering one's taxes so as not to pay into Social Security or Medicare despite tens of millions of dollars of income. Given those kinds of demands, can Rauner really be expected to worry about how his companies treat the elderly and the developmentally disabled?
In case anyone is wondering, Thursday, August 21 is the last day for an established political party to replace a nominee prior to certification of the ballot.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.