The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration on Tuesday announced it has initiated a $12,500 fine against Nancy Cushman, owner and operator of Rudy’s Agape House assisted living facility in Bradenton.
Cushman gave her 16 residents just 36 hours to vacate her rented facility at 5426 18th St. W. earlier this month after she was evicted from the premises for nonpayment of rent. AHCA announced its involvement shortly after the Department of Children and Family Services announced it had opened an adult protection services investigation against Cushman.
Shelisha Coleman, AHCA press secretary, said the fine is based on the failure to provide appropriate notification of closure to Cushman’s residents, most of whom suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“Due process is available to the licensee to challenge the fine, and the action is not final until the full legal process is complete,” Coleman said.
In the meantime, Cushman’s former landlord is continuing to pursue the money owed her. Cushman stopped paying in October. Cushman stopped paying her former landlord while she was initiating a new license for a new, smaller facility.
Cushman moved belongings from her original place to Rudy’s Agape House II, 2104 55th Ave. W. Cushman opened the new license last summer, in anticipation of moving to the new facility. At no time did Cushman inform the residents or their family members of her intent or pending financial troubles.
According to her former landlord’s attorney and court records, it was only Cushman who was being evicted from the 18th Street West property and that another licensed administrator had been hired as to not disturb the residents.
But disturbed they were.
“Gloria is an absolute mess, and a friend’s mom is not doing great,” said Jeannette Traylor, whose 89-year-old mother-in-law was under Cushman’s care.
“She’s a mild-mannered woman but has turned into a hellion. I can laugh a little about it now, but I was crying at the time when I got a call saying she pulled the fire alarm and has been acting out. They call it transfer trauma, and we are experiencing it firsthand. It has changed her personality, and we are just hoping she levels out.”
Traylor said the fine is a “good start, but it’s sickening to me that she still has a license. I would think her actions at Rudy’s would tell a lot about her character. But my heart tells me it’s a matter of time.”
Family members are particularly upset that Cushman took their March 1 rent payments knowing she was about to be evicted. DCF regulations state that Cushman has 45 days to pay back those family members when adequate notice is not given. That gives Cushman until around May 1 to pay the family members back.
Natalie Harrell, DCF communications director for the Suncoast Region, would only say, “Our investigation remains open, and we have no further updates at this time.”
Traylor said her conversations with DCF indicate that “this will probably not be the last we hear about this. It will be a big problem with the state. I would love for her to never have hands in an assisted living facility again. I never want anyone to go through this again.”