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Jury awards $5.75 million to creditors of former elder care home

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Friday, March 1, 2013, 3:33 p.m.

An eight-person federal jury on Friday awarded the unsecured creditors of the former Lemington Home for the Aged $5.75 million in damages.

In a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab, attorneys for the creditors presented evidence that former administrator Mel Causey, former chief financial officer James Shealey and the board drove the home into bankruptcy.

Founded in 1883, the nonprofit that was also known as the Lemington Center was the oldest African-American-sponsored nursing home until it closed in July 2005.

The jury, which began deliberations on Wednesday at noon, awarded the creditors $2.25 million in compensatory damages against Causey, Shealey and 13 of the 15 directors and awarded punitive damages of $1 million against Shealey, $750,000 against Causey and $350,000 each against five of the 15 directors.

Lawyers for the creditors, the officers and the board declined comment after the verdict was announced.

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