Sale of Keiro Senior HealthCare faces tough opposition

GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of senior citizens are concerned about their future following the sale of Keiro Senior HealthCare, the company that runs their living facilities.

Although the sale has already been approved, an effort is underway to stop it. Hundreds of people gathered at a church in Gardena on Thursday to try to reverse the sale, which they say will hurt many in the community.

"We want it to stop. We want Keiro to remain a non-profit organization, and we want these seniors to be taken care of," said Rep. Maxine Waters.

Waters and Rep. Judy Chu led the gathering, calling on Attorney General Kamala Harris to reverse the sale of Keiro Senior HealthCare facilities to Pacifica Companies.

They say Keiro is the largest not-for-profit health care organization serving the Japanese-American community and that it shouldn't be sold to a for-profit company.

"I think Pacifica, which is a real estate development, is interested in this land more than anything else," Waters said. "I do not think that Pacifica is interested in running a senior citizen health care facility."

Critics of the sale say 600 elderly residents will be at risk because of the deal.

"If you look at the terms of this sale, there is a five-year agreement that they'll maintain the same level of care, but actually these seniors have given up all their assets thinking that they would spend the last years of their lives right here at Keiro," Chu said.

Critics also say there should have been a public hearing before the deal was done. Some residents, like 92-year-old Bill Harada, agree.

"I don't care for the sale and the way they're doing it," Harada said.

But there are two sides - not everyone is against the sale of Keiro facilities.

"The residents will remain in the buildings. They will enjoy the same activities, the same services, and the buildings will remain open and available to the community for as long as the community needs it," said Audrey Lee-Sung, the development and communications director at Keiro Senior HealthCare.

Lee-Sung says there has been transparency in the sale, and the organization has the community's best interests in mind. Harris agrees. In a statement released in November, her office said they evaluated Keiro's request to sell and added conditions to protect everyone served after the sale is complete.

The opposition says they're prepared to go to court to fight.

Keiro has four locations in Los Angeles County, according to the company website.
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