On November 2, 2011, The Courier-Journal reported that James F. (“Chum”) Tackett, the former administrator of a eastern Kentucky personal care home, pleaded guilty to state criminal charges that he stole over $300,000.00 meant for residents, many of who were mentally handicapped. Tackett also pleaded guilty to exploiting a vulnerable adult, and income tax fraud. According to the Courier-Journal article, the charges against Tackett included stealing money from residents of the Golden Years personal care home in Letcher County, and using it to purchase several trucks. Tackett has also pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges.
Tackett served as Golden Years’ administrator for several years. Golden Years once housed as many as 40 residents, but in October 2011, Kentucky officials ordered that it be shut down, due to continuing problems. In 2007, Kentucky officials cited Golden Years after investigators determined that Tackett physically struck and injured a resident. Tackett subsequently pleaded guilty to resident abuse, and was forced to resign as Golden Years’ administrator. He was also ordered not to have any further contact with Golden Years, or its residents. However, in 2009, investigators found that despite his previous plea, Tackett was still working at Golden Years, and had contact with residents.
The Courier-Journal quoted Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway as saying, “While Mr. Tackett was living a lavish lifestyle, the residents at Golden Years were suffering and his personal care home was falling into disrepair and financial ruin.
This story is further evidence that Kentucky nursing homes, and the people and companies that run them, are failing us. Resident care and safety need to be nursing and personal care homes’ number one priority. However, all too often, the companies that own and operate nursing homes only care about profitability, which can result in inadequate staffing levels, and decreased staff training and education. This sad episode also demonstrates why the KRS 216.515, the Kentucky Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights, is so important.