Profiles in Greed: Daniel E. Straus, HealthBridge Owner

In its “Know Your Trustees” series, NYU Local has this profile of Daniel Straus, one of the owners of HealthBridge – which has illegally locked out 100 caregivers in Milford since December 2011, and is threatening to close its other facilities in Connecticut, putting 1200 residents at risk of eviction.

The profile includes some stunning descriptions of the tremendous profit he has made in the long-term care industry, as well as his company’s track record when it comes to respecting workers’ rights and basic living standards (emphasis added):

Daniel E. Straus, now in his mid fifties, is a lawyer by accreditation and businessman by trade. His father owned several nursing homes and upon his death his two sons inherited these and founded, in 1984, Multicare Companies, Inc. With this rather advantageous head start Straus, over the next 13 years, would expand his holdings to employ over 18,000 people, and eventually sell this company for $1.06 billion in cash.

[…] His 1997 deal is emblematic of what the New York Times called “the rapid consolidation of the nursing home industry,” and enabled the creation of “one of the biggest [elderly care] chains…in northern New Jersey, the Boston area, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.” Of the total selling price, the Straus family received a little less than half at $455 million dollars.

[…Straus] joined the board of trustees of the law school at NYU the next year. Yet under his private investment firm, The Straus Group, he continued to see lucrative possibilities in…various [health care] enterprises, including CareOne and HealthBridge, assisted living and rehabilitation brands whose chains span along the upper half of the east coast. […]

Management [has] insisted on freezing pensions and reducing benefits […for employees at its unionized facilities in Connecticut]. […In] December, the firm managed by Straus’s private investment firm, essentially a conglomerate of assisted living companies, locked out workers and filled their positions with temporary labor. […]

In New Jersey the employees of an assisted living facility owned by CareOne organized a union […]. Management fired ten employees and penalized others […by illegally reducing their hours].  The [National Labor Relations] Board found that CareOne was practicing discriminatory management policies in firing their employees for union activity. From New Jersey to Connecticut, the management style of companies owned by Daniel Straus seems clear – break the union to reduce costs, but one wonders, what were the returns reported by The Straus Group’s holdings last year?

They can’t have been too scarce, and in a recent purchase for what’s believed to be around $100 million Straus now owns at least eight buildings on 74th and Madison.

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