Levin and Associates had an interesting article in The Senior Care Investor discussing the bankruptcy and sale of IHS to THI and eventually Fundamental long Term Care Holdings LLc, owned and operated by Murray Forman and Leonard Grunstein. Below are excerpts from the article:
Very few people remember what happened a little more than seven years ago, but in early
2003, an unknown entity (at least to the senior care world) stepped in at the last minute and snatched the remaining assets of a bankrupt Integrated Health Services (IHS) from the presumed
buyer, literally on the steps of the court house. Trans Healthcare Inc. (THI) thought it had the deal wrapped up for $97.5 million, but an entity called Abe Briarwood, backed by Cammeby’s
International, swooped in for $114 million in cash and was willing to assume the post-petition Medicaid and Medicare billing liabilities, something that made the court very happy.
We are certain that the founder of Cammeby’s, one Rubin Schron, had no idea where this initial acquisition would take him in the rough and tumble skilled nursing industry…. And, most certainly, he never thought he would now be in court pitted against a man he trusted with everything. After Cammeby’s made the winning bid at the 11th hour, THI at first tried to fight it, but then the two sides settled their differences when Cammeby’s hired THI to run the newly acquired IHS assets. Then, in May 2004, we caught wind of an acquisition offer that was brewing for the former Mariner Health Care from none other than Cammeby’s, but under the name National Senior Care, and separate from its Integrated Health. The purchase price for Mariner was just under $1.0 billion, and when you capitalized the lease payments, the total transaction value increased to about $1.25 billion. This resulted in a price per bed of $38,800 and a 9.2x multiple of annualized EBITDAR. The
deal closed at the end of 2004, but perhaps the most longlasting impact on the target entity, which some time later had a name change to Sava SeniorCare, was the role that Mr. Schron’s attorney, Leonard Grunstein, came to play.
There were really two sets of problems that began to emerge. One was what transpired with the original acquisition of the Integrated Health assets and the role of Trans Healthcare, which eventually came to be known as Fundamental Long Term Care when Fundamental purchased the assets of THI, the sale of which some claim was under duress and fraudulent. There is a separatelawsuit filed on July 1, 2010, against Leonard Grunstein, his brother Harry, Murray
Forman alleging, among other things, fraudulent conveyance, unjust enrichment, legal malpractice, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of lease agreements, tortious interference and aiding and abetting fraud. The lawsuit was filed by Allen Bodner and DMV Funding LLC and is seeking no less than $150 million in damages and no less than $300 million in punitive damages.
According to the complaint, Bodner owned 100% of DMV which purchased Cammeby’s loan to the Abe Briarwood/IHS deal, and there are 30 more pages as to what transpired among the various parties. The long and short of the complaint was that the plaintiffs believe they got screwed, to
put it bluntly, by people who were partnering with them and advising them.
The more interesting lawsuit, but sort of related, was filed on June 22, 2010, with Rubin Schron and his various holdings as the plaintiffs against a similar cast of characters including Leonard Grunstein, Murray Forman, the law firm Troutman Sanders, and the various Sava and Mariner
affiliates. To fully appreciate how unusual this lawsuit is, one must always keep in mind that Leonard Grunstein was Rubin Schron’s attorney. ….Mr. Grunstein did much of the legal work involved in the Mariner acquisition and subsequent Opco and Propco set-ups that evolved over time.
The relationship between Mr. Schron and Mr. Grunstein dates back to the 1980s, and according to the complaint, he apparently has referred to himself as Mr. Schron’s “general counsel.” According to the complaint, Mr Schron relied on legal advice from his attorney who began to organize things to the benefit of the attorney, and on financial advisory services from Mr. Forman, who was allegedly in cahoots with Mr. Grunstein. Mr. Schron never wanted to have anything to do with operating the nursing facilities; he just wanted a steady, but increasing, rental stream from the
real estate. In the case of the Mariner acquisition, according to the complaint, Mr. Schron put all the money up and ended up owning the real estate in Propco, while Grunstein/Forman retained ownership of the operating entity created to run the facilities, and all the excess cash flow, plus they received a small share of Propco—all without investing any of their own money. In addition, according to the complaint filed, Mr. Schron was charged $14 million for financial advice in the Mariner deal by MetCap Advisory Services, which was 25% owned by Mr. Grunstein and 25% owned by Mr. Forman. Other allegations in the nearly 100-page complaint include loans made to Opco that were never paid back to Mr. Schron, distributions taken by the Grunstein/Forman group
totaling more than $70 million, Grunstein billing Schron for non-existent legal work, and for allegedly not giving Schron the final closing documents for the original Mariner acquisition.
One also needs to remember that all of this recent legal action is on top of several issues earlier this year, when Mr. Grunstein and Mr. Forman sued Mr. Schron for more than $100 million for allegedly misappropriating significant sums of money from various partnerships in which they all had a stake.
And don’t forget that all three of them were defendants together when the Department of Justice charged them all with accepting kickbacks from Omnicare in return for pharmacy contracts. Without admitting guilt, they settled and agreed to pay the federal government $7.8 million
and $6.1 million to certain states.
Over the past two years the owners of Sava (Mariner) have been trying to sell off various pieces of the company (or the whole thing), notably the portfolio of mostly leased assets in California, but with little success. The obvious problems were pricing and financing. Currently, Sava is the seventh largest skilled nursing company in the country with 184 facilities and 21,279 skilled
beds, and it is larger than half of the publicly traded skilled nursing companies. Still, we believe that selling the assets is a real outcome, especially for Mr. Schron who we assume wants to be done with his relationship with his former attorney and financial advisor, and may even want to be out of the skilled nursing real estate business altogether. The other side, however, may
still not want to give up their cash cow, but the courts and the credit markets may make the decision for them.