Eric Rothner, who is listed as the facility's majority owner on the most recently available government cost reports, which cover 2006 through 2010, declined to comment for this article. His staff members in the past have told the Tribune that they work hard to assure the highest quality of care for often-troubled residents.
In partnership with close relatives, Rothner has had an ownership stake or administrative role in more than a dozen Illinois nursing facilities, including Somerset Place in Uptown — one of Illinois' largest facilities until the state shuttered it in 2010. The Tribune had reported on allegations of sexual assault, violence and drug use there, as well as the slaying of one resident who had been trading sex for cash and using cocaine only blocks from the nursing home.
At Rainbow Beach, the vast majority of residents are African-American, according to the state health department's website. The for-profit facility received roughly $8 million per year from Medicaid during the five years from 2006 through 2010 and reported profits totaling $2 million during those years, while paying $3.8 million in dividends or distributions to owners, according to cost reports filed with the state.
The home additionally paid companies associated with Rothner or his family for services ranging from clerical work to consulting, as well as more than $1.5 million in annual rent to a land company managed by Rothner, land records and facility costs reports show. Such related-party transactions are common in the Illinois nursing home industry, often to increase efficiencies.
Residents include 44 patients with felony convictions, records from February show.
It was in the wake of the July rape allegation that state health inspectors placed the first of the two monitors in Rainbow Beach. Suspects Marvin Palm and JaJuan Rice have pleaded not guilty in both cases and are in Cook County Jail awaiting trial.
This was not Palm's first arrest in connection with violence inside the facility.
In 2007, Palm was charged with robbery and aggravated battery for mugging another patient. In that case, Palm's accomplice, a 29-year-old resident and gang member named Melvin Lewis, held a 64-year-old fellow resident while Palm punched him in the eye. Lewis then took the victim's wallet from his back pocket and stole the $5 he had. Both men pleaded guilty to felony charges, and Palm spent 139 days in jail before completing mental health probation in 2010.
The court dispute over the monitors is scheduled for a hearing next month. Turner will not be there representing Rainbow Beach; the judge disqualified her last month because she had recently worked as a staff lawyer at the Public Health Department and taken part in the state's effort to revoke Rainbow Beach's license.
The Illinois Supreme Court's professional conduct rules for lawyers prohibit those who served in government agencies from then representing a private client in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a government employee, unless the appropriate government agency gives its consent.
Turner told the Tribune that the effort to remove the monitors had nothing to do with her previous government work on the revocation case. "I know I didn't do anything unethical," she said.