Okay, let’s all take a deep breath and exhale to get rid of bombast and b…s… Now let’s see where we stand as far as the disposal of Keiro is concerned.

Fact: The California State Attorney General’s Office has approved the sale of Keiro to Pacifica Companies LLC, despite a last-minute outpouring of protest by a number of naysayers. The AG endorsement was the final hurdle with ownership transfer set for early 2016.

Fact: The okay, a *requirement when a for-profit proposes to take over a non-profit, is to protect the public interest; in Keiro’s case, the Japanese community. [*which was the downfall of Ensign Group, the ill-fated initial prospective buyer.]

Fact: An Ad Hoc Committee Against the Sale of Keiro has unexpectedly been formed. Although odds are against its success, the hastily organized group held a town hall meeting last night (Tuesday) at Centenary United Methodist Church in a show of public pique.

= * =

The matter of being fair and transparent is in the eyes of the beholder. CR2S has held that the powers-that-be failed to keep the community properly informed of the whys and wherefores behind the decision to sell. The rebuttal is numerous publicity news releases, pronouncements and information sessions with families and relatives. But the question persists: Why the community was not apprised of the shaky future confronting Keiro and given an opportunity to voice objections. Admittedly The Rafu did not do a good job covering the story early on. [On top of which there are too many who don’t read the paper.]

Let’s take a pass on the debate over transparency and zero in on what the buyer has agreed to that earned the AG’s stamp of approval. Terms of agreement listed below are commitments guaranteed for five (5) years (italics mine).

(a) All current residents will be in a “preferred” classification, meaning top priority in case of transfer or displacement;

(b) There will be a one (1) year moratorium (on rent?);

(c) All current community outreach programs will be continued;

(d) Medi-Cal and Medicare patients will continue to be accepted;

(e) All current program activities will continue in a “sensitive manner,” specifically including continuation of Japanese menu selections in dining hall;

(f) All sale proceeds will be earmarked for the benefit of older adult Japanese;

(g) A Community Advisory Board (CAB) will be formed to monitor operations;

(h) All staff employees will be rehired at current level and position;

(i) Donor Recognition Wall will be retained;

(j) Leasing agents (North Star and Aspen) will support and maintain all existing volunteer programs.

Pacifica, Keiro and the CAB must all sign off on a summary report that must be submitted to the AG upon completion of the five-year agreement.

= * =

All of the above information was presented by President Shawn Miyake last Wednesday at a meeting with Keiro Retirement Home residents. While most of the report is self-explanatory, there are three, (b), (f) and (g), that require elaboration.

In the case of (b), CR2S fails to note where and why there will be “a one-year moratorium.” [Sorry, my bad. Probably regards rent hike.] As for (f), the burning question highest on the public’s mind is how the $41 million will be spent. The answer given was inadequate and hollow, to say the least. Also of great import was (g), the Community Advisory Board. First and foremost is how the CAB will be implemented, its responsibilities and manner in which members will be appointed. And how many.

There was an open-mic period giving residents an opportunity to quiz Miyake further. When the makeup of the CAB was asked, Miyake replied it was “to be determined.” Another gave the CEO an opportunity to refute lack of transparency claims and repeat the company line of why Keiro had to be sold. The greatest surprise was no one pressed for a more detailed explanation of how the $41 million will be earmarked.

CR2S chose not to pose any questions. The president had been invited to meet with residents to give (his) update. Common courtesy called for inquiries based on tenant interests, not mine.

I guess the audience was more interested in a potential rent hike than a death dirge.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at williamhiroto@att.net Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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  1. In reviewing Keiro’s most recent financial statements for 10/31/13 and 10/31/12, I see a strong balance sheet with net assets of $62M and $58.5M, respectively, with no sign of financial distress. For 10/31/13, there was an operating loss of $1M but that off-set by $1.6M in contributions and almost $1M in investment income, so there was a net asset increase (profit) of $1.5M. In the previous year, they had an operating loss of $300,000 but had contributions of $2.3M and investment income of $1.4M, so there was a net asset increase of $3.4M. So where is this fiscal problem? Any operating loss is more than covered by contributions and investment income so that every year net assets keep growing.

    If more money is needed, the Japanese American community would step up as they always have but there does not appear to be a need for that. The Board of Directors need to explain this fiscal crisis that they are facing and yet they refuse to meet with the community.

    The founders of Keiro, the Japanese American community and the Japanese government are the original “shareholders” of Keiro, as they provided the funding to start it. Unfortunately, as a non-profit, the Board of Directors has taken absolute control of the situation and left the descendants of the Shareholders, the rightful owners of Keiro, without a vote, let alone a voice. This is unacceptable and a lawsuit must be filed to delay, and hopefully, stop this sale.

    The New Keiro will provide home care services which just about any company can do. What about the seniors who cannot live at home, like my mother, who are most in need? Many seniors do not have any family members and they will be left to fend for themselves at a time when they can least be expected to do so. This goes against the original mission statement of Keiro, which the Board of Directors seem to have conveniently forgotten.

    Their mission statement starts out: A Tradition of Caring – Since 1961, Keiro has been a trusted senior resource in the Japanese American community. Now, the trust is gone. The community needs to take back control of Keiro because it is the Board of Directors that should be listening to us, the Shareholders, not the other way around.