Oakwood closes

Published 9:34 pm Thursday, June 6, 2013

By Matthew A. Ward and Tracy Agnew

Suffolk’s long-embattled Oakwood Assisted Living appears to finally have closed its doors after continuing alleged violations of state standards.

Late Thursday afternoon at the facility on East Washington Street, residents told the Suffolk News-Herald they are being moved out.

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“They said we got to move out because the owner ain’t got no license,” said Syvalious “Tank” Fulgham, an Oakwood resident of nine years.

Fulgham said residents were told Tuesday they had to be out by Friday. Between 50 and 60 had already moved out, he said, and about 10 are to move Friday.

Joshua Carter, a resident of seven years, said the directive to move out was delivered Wednesday night.

He said he has been found a facility to relocate to in Petersburg, and that Oakwood has bedbugs.

Bedbugs are the tip of the iceberg, it would appear. Twelve sheets of violation notices were posted in an office window on the right of the lobby, and well over 100 alleged violations are detailed on the Department of Social Services’ website.

One recent alleged violation involved a female staff member letting residents watch pornographic videos in her car during the overnight shift.

Other alleged violations have involved physical confrontations, drug abuse, inadequate food, and failures to follow treatment plans and obtain mental health reports.

In April 2012, a 92-year-old woman was hospitalized in a critical condition after being attacked at Oakwood by a 42-year-old man, and a 47-year-old resident’s body was found in a ditch just around the corner in March 2011, when it was called NubJones Assisted Living Facility.

Earlier this week, a Department of Social Services spokeswoman confirmed an order not to renew Oakwood’s license had been forwarded to department commissioner Margaret Schultze “for her consideration.”

News of the facility’s closure came too late Thursday to ascertain from the department whether the commissioner had approved the order.

Late Thursday, administrators at the facility were unwilling to discuss the situation.

The department also confirmed this week that Tabernacle Christian Church, next door to Oakwood, has entered into a management plan for the facility with its owner, Scott Schuett. Both the church and Schuett have not returned calls for comment.

Apparent renovation work was underway at the facility Thursday, in the lobby and common area. Two men outside said they were from Tabernacle Christian Church and doing renovation work.

The men said they believed the work was for the facility’s eventual reopening.

The department has also declined to renew Schuett’s license to operate such facilities. Other Schuett facilities in Hampton Roads have been closed.