ACWORTH, Ga. - The families of 27 elderly residents are furious after they were told they must leave their assisted living facility with about 72 hours' notice. Tranquil Gardens senior care facility in Acworth told them they had to be out by noon Friday, leaving their loved ones scrambling.
"It’s just horrible," said Vanessa Johnson, whose mother and brother lived at the facility up until Friday morning.
As her mother sat in her wheelchair in the scorching hot parking lot of the facility as they were moving out, she began crying. Her former caretaker tried to comfort her.
"She’s terrified right now and this is so unnecessary and this is so abusive," Johnson said. "They said that everybody was being evicted and that the staff is not going to get paid and we just have to leave."
Tiffany Echols, the now-former executive director of the facility, said the whole staff – even she – was blindsided by the news.
"I’ve grown to love the residents, I’ve come to love the families. It’s heartbreaking," Echols said. "We want to know where our paychecks are, we want to know why you put our residents on the street."
While Echols blames the owners, the owners said economic factors forced them to close.
"Unfortunately, we have been faced with several unforeseen challenges that in the end proved to be catastrophic. A yearlong shut down
due to Covid was something that we were unable to recover from as a new business," said Janice Stewart, the owner of the property, in a statement emailed to Fox 5. We know that emotions are high when family is involved, and we hope that in time people will be able to see past the false allegations being made and know that we are truly devastated to close our doors and say goodbye to all of our residents."
Echols, who said she helped manage the facility’s finances, does not buy it.
"They just accepted all of these people's rent money so how are you going under?" she said. "Nobody here is ever late with the rent, these residents pay their rent on time every month because I received the rent checks."
Echols said she was escorted from the property Friday morning by law enforcement.
Mervlyn Pringle, a caretaker at the facility who immigrated from Jamaica, said she was baffled by the abrupt nature of the closure.
"I love the residents so much, and they are so nice," she said. " I am from Jamaica and this is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life."
Some family members of the residents say they are considering legal action against the owners.
One staffer told Fox 5 that all 27 residents were able to move to other facilities or with family members.
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