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Governor's Ex-Paramour Accuses State

Tina Conner says regulators fabricated records to force her nursing home into bankruptcy after she ended her affair with Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton. He denies doing anything to harm her business.

November 28, 2002|From Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The owner of a bankrupt nursing home accused state regulators Wednesday of fabricating violations and altering records to close down the home in retaliation for her decision to end an affair with Gov. Paul Patton.

The state is trying to revoke Birchtree Healthcare's license -- which expires Dec. 31 -- for "continued and substantial failure" to meet minimum requirements.

Tina Conner alleges that state inspectors hounded the nursing home into bankruptcy after she ended a two-year affair with Patton. She alleges it was Patton's way of retaliating -- a charge under state and federal investigation.

The debt-ridden nursing home, which has only 11 residents left, never recovered from losing Medicare and Medicaid funding during the summer.

During a federal bankruptcy hearing Wednesday, Conner and Birchtree administrator Dan Dabney alleged that a member of the state's survey team altered a patient's medical record during an October inspection, causing the patient to take medication later than prescribed.

Dabney has filed a complaint with the attorney general's office. A spokeswoman there said the office has subpoenaed the records.

The state Cabinet for Health Services declined to comment, but inspector Linda Tinsley testified that regulators didn't change the chart.

Conner and Dabney deny that the facility had serious violations and say they worked to improve care. "I have never said there weren't legitimate problems," Conner said. "They were not of that magnitude."

Conner said she has given investigators a tape of a conversation in which a state official says she is working to close down Birchtree.

Patton acknowledged his affair with Conner but denied doing anything to aid or ruin her business. Cabinet officials deny that their scrutiny of Birchtree was politically motivated.

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