Which state is the Wild West of chartering? No accountability, anyone can get public dollars, no experience needed.
Some say Arizona. Some say Michigan. Right now, I’d say it is Florida.
Florida man @JMichelMD owns @LarkinHospital nursing home where 12 patients died after Hurricane Irma, committed $15.4 million healthcare fraud, and now he’s opening @MDCPS “health sciences” charter school because Florida: https://t.co/j4PYkDVFBn pic.twitter.com/Z6SUE2Y803
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 6, 2018
After 12 elderly patients died during Hurricane Irma at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood last September, South Floridians were not stunned to learn that the doctor who owned the facility, Jack Michel, had a history of fraud complaints. As WPLG’s Bob Norman noted last November, nothing stopped Michel — who owns the Larkin Community Hospital network — from opening a nursing home after previously paying a $15.4 million federal fine to settle Medicare and Medicaid fraud claims in 2007. Since then, several Larkin doctors also have been criminally charged with fraud.
But since the deadly incident, which inspired new statewide regulations, sparked a criminal probe, and got the Rehabilitation Center’s license suspended, Michel hasn’t stopped pitching new business ideas. His latest move? Opening a charter school.
According to the Biscayne Times, Michel owns the historic Admiral Vee Motel building at 8000 Biscayne Blvd., a striking MiMo-style structure that film producers used as the Sun Gym in the 2013 Mark Wahlberg and the Rock movie Pain & Gain. The building has been in a state of disrepair for years, with busted windows, water damage and homeless people sleeping under the breezeways. Last March, the Biscayne Times chronicled how Michel had let the once-gleaming property decay.
But recently, someone has slapped spiffy new signs on the side of the building advertising the “Larkin School for the Health Sciences,” a charter school serving kids from grades 6 through 8. The signs say the school will open in next month.
A New Times reporter visited the facility on Wednesday, and the building is still missing windows and strewn with garbage. But the school published a press release last February asking parents to apply to send their children, and job-postings on the website Glassdoor show the school looking for a principal just 12 days ago.
This is disgusting. Betsy DeVos would approve. If parents apply to send their child, well, that’s all good.