In a shocking case, a 25-year veteran of one of the largest fire departments in the country was charged with soliciting and accepting bribes from owners of nursing home facilities.
Prosecutors allege that the fire inspector accepted
or solicited bribes ranging from $500 to $2,000 from operators of
nursing care facilities run out of private homes.
"This is absolutely shocking. I think it's terrible, and it exposes
the weaknesses in this system," said a state advocate for nursing care reform.
"We have almost 8,000 licensed residential care facilities in
California. The state keeps licensing more every year. There is almost
no oversight of these places. They are not inspected on an annual
basis, or even every three years, but maybe once every five years.
"You are just kind of playing poker whenever you select one of these places and then you have something like this happen."
The inspector's duties were to ensure that the nursing homes met Fire Department
standards for sprinklers, fire doors and fire exits - requirements
designed to ensure the safety of bed-ridden patients. For more, read the story.