GALVESTON (CN) - The owners of Baywind Village nursing home in League City, Texas are accused of firing a receptionist because she was privy to a dangerous plan to save money in the face of Hurricane Ike. Estelle Reeves claims she was canned for discovering the owners' plan to ignore a mandatory evacuation order and move residents to another facility, also in the evacuation zone, that the state had shut down the previous month.
Reeves says Texas shut the Tuscany Village nursing home for code violations in July or August this year. She claims that during the week of Sept. 8, defendants Cecil and Christopher Barcelo argued in her presence about hotel reservations they had made in Luling, Texas, in case of a hurricane evacuation. "Christopher Barcelo wished to cancel the reservations but defendant Cecil Barcelo was concerned that, if the reservations were canceled and an evacuation became necessary, they would not have an alternative evacuation plan for the safe care of the patients," according to the claim in Galveston County Court.
She says that on Sept. 10, Christopher Barcelo ordered Baywind employees "to cancel the Luling hotel reservations because he did not want to incur the costs. Under his instruction, the Luling hotel reservations were canceled even though Houston was still directly in zone of danger and defendants had no alternate plan for patient safety," the complaint states.
She says on Sept. 11 or 12, the residents of Baywind Village and another home the defendants own, Regency Village in Webster, were all moved to Tuscany Village.
"Plaintiff was terminated in part because she had witnessed defendants' arguments over terminating the reservations and knew that the defendants recklessly placed patients t the Tuscany property to save money, needlessly exposing the patients to severe injury or death."
She say that Christopher Barcelo called her on Sept. 15 and fired her, telling her "that she 'was not loyal' to defendant Baywind Village."
She seeks punitive damages. She is represented by Robert Clements Jr.