Safety and identity theft concerns surround nursing home

Next-door neighbor says she's seen kids running in and out of Forest Hill

EAST MOLINE, Ill. - A nursing home that closed in East Moline years ago is at the center of identity theft and safety concerns. 

Forest Hill Health and Rehab Center has been closed for about four years.

Police got word there was trouble when a woman came forward saying her child got a hold of medical records from that facility, saying other students at her middle school gave it to her.

East Moline's old mayor says the facility has had problems for years.

Local 4 News spoke with a woman who lives right next to the nursing home.

She says she's seen children go in and out of the building.

The woman also says her sister lived at Forest Hill, and she's concerned about identity theft.

"My sister was in there for five years. I've had a concern of her records being in there," said Karen Roberts.

Roberts says she's had to call the police several times about kids breaking into the folded facility.

Roberts says it's not trespassing she's concerned about.

"The safety of the children going in the place. It's molded, it's asbestos, and it's not safe for them to be in there," said Roberts.

Former East Moline Mayor John Thodos says he was last in Forest Hill about two years ago.

He says the building has black mold, and it looked like a scene out of the Walking Dead.

"It looked as if they were going to come back Monday morning. Computers sitting right where they should be, desks right where they should be, keys, medical records all sitting out," said Thodos.

Thodos says since East Moline is home rule, they don't have authority to handle the building and move the records. He says he's reached out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

H.U.D. Officials say they only insured the mortgage for the facility, and since the former owner, Michael Lerner defaulted on the mortgage, and they can't reach him, they're working to auction Forest Hill off. But H.U.D was unsuccessful during the auction in January.

Thodos says he's frustrated by the issue.

"I would have gone in there years ago and taken out the records, destroyed them, done whatever we could have done. But again, we didn't have the authority to do that," said Thodos.

Roberts says along with safety and identity theft concerns. She's also concerned about the value of her home.

"We're not sure if in the future, when we get older, sell the place, how much is it going to be worth when you're looking at this next door?" asked Roberts.

"It's extremely sad, and I mean it was avoidable. It was completely avoidable," said Thodos.

We have reached out to the Illinois attorney general's office. They say they're aware of this situation, they're in contact with the city and looking into the matter.



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