Families scrambling to move elderly residents from assisted living facility after eviction

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Residents of a Cherokee County assisted living facility, some who are in hospice or memory care, will be forced to find a new place to live Friday.

Channel 2′s Cobb County bureau chief Chris Jose was at the Tranquil Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care facility, where moving trucks were lined up Thursday in a race to get residents out before the doors lock for good on Friday at noon.

Deputies were also at the facility.

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Channel 2 Action News learned that residents were given three-days notice that they had to move out due to foreclosure on the property. Families said they were only given a verbal eviction.

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On Thursday, Jose got a tip the owner was planning to visit the property, so he waited for him. Jose asked co-owner Brain Stewart if there was anything he wanted to say. A heated confrontation ensued.

“What’s going on over here? Is your property in foreclosure?” Jose asked.

“I’m not interested,” Stewart said.

“Three days notice though?” Jose asked.

“Would you please exit the building?” Stewart said.

“Do you still own the building?” Jose asked.

“Would you ask them to leave the building please?” Stewart said.

“Anything you want to say to these residents?” Jose asked.

“Leave the building,” Stewart said.

“Three days notice,” Jose said.

“Leave the building,” Stewart said.

“A lot of people are upset,” Jose said.

“Jesus Christ! Are you f*** stupid?” Stewart said.

Stewart did offer an explanation to one man, Ken Byers, whose mother is a resident at the facility.

“He admitted that they ran out of money. They had no money to pay the mortgage, pay the workers here,” Byers said. “To relocate my mother and everybody else that’s in a wheel chair and has memory care, that’s disgraceful.”

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Stewart’s mother, who is the co-owner of the property, released a statement that read:

“Tranquil Gardens was truly a product of passion and the Stewart families first and foremost concern has always been the care for the elderly. Unfortunately, we have been faced with several unforeseen challenges that in the end proved to be catastrophic. A yearlong shut down due to COVID was something that we were unable to recover from as a new business. While we have worked tirelessly to try and remedy the situation and explored every possible avenue, a domino effect of things out of our control transpired at the end that led to a very heartbreaking and rapid end to the facility. Again, the safety and care of our residents is the most important thing, and we are truly grateful for all of those that have worked quickly to help our residents find new homes. We know that emotions are high when family is involved, and we hope that in time people will be able to see past the false allegations being made and know that we are truly devastated to close our doors and say goodbye to all of our residents.”

Tiffany Echols, the Executive Director at Tranquil Gardens, has been working with the state and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to investigate exactly what happened.

“They stole from these residents,” Echols said. “They accepted these residents’ rent money and ran off. You’re illegally evicting these residents.”

Workers said they would stay until the very last person is out.

“We’re still in a crisis here,” Echols said. “Well guess what? With God on our side, we’re going to make it.”

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said investigators are reviewing the facts to determine if the case is civil or criminal.