Skip to comments.Judge Lets Abortion Clinic Pay $77 to Get Out of $36,000 Fine
Posted on 01/17/2014 5:39:41 AM PST by Morgana
Imagine you run a shoddy abortion clinic that amasses a $36,000 fine by your states health department. You file for bankruptcy, but your case is dismissed. Then, you close out your bank account, dissolve your old company, change your name, and move to a different location.
When the state comes calling, you say the old company doesnt exist anymore, so the states out of luck.
You couldnt get away with that, could you?
Believe it or not, a judge in Chicago is about to let an Illinois abortion clinic do just that by requiring the owner to pay a mere $77. Abortion Clinic Owner Felt Victimized by Unfair Health Department Inspection
To understand how things got to this point, we have to back up a few years.
On September 6-7, 2011, inspectors with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) visited the Womens Aid Clinic abortion facility, located in the northern Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood, for the first time in 15 years.
What they found shocked them. According to the IDPH:
The condition of the facility has deteriorated to a point where the public interest, health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires that the facilitys license be suspended on an emergency basis. (210 ILCS 5/10f(c)).
The full report from the IDPHs 2011 inspection of Womens Aid Clinic is posted here [PDF]. (Its also worth noting that Womens Aid owner Larisa Rozansky later told an AP reporter that she felt victimized by the surprise inspection, which she called unfair.)
Six weeks later, on October 21, 2011 the state assessed [PDF] Womens Aid Clinic with a fine of $36,000 for a host of serious violations, including failure to perform CPR [PDF] on 18-year old Antonesha Ross, who died following an abortion. The state also suspended the license of Womens Aid to operate as a pregnancy termination specialty center (PTSC) and prohibited the facility from performing surgical abortionsalthough it is still permitted to perform medical abortions (i.e., RU-486).
Knowing a fine was coming, Womens Aid owner Larisa Rozansky filed for bankruptcy [PDF] on October 10, but her case was dismissed a few weeks later.
And although Rozansky wrote a letter to the IDPH stating [PDF] that Womens Aid Clinic would be closing on November 10, 2011, Womens Aid Clinic continued to advertise surgical abortions and do business under the very name Womens Aid Clinic for several months thereafter.
In January 2012, activists working with the Pro-Life Action League notified the IDPH that Womens Aid was continuing to advertise surgical abortions. Following a cease and desist letter from the the IDPHs William Bell in March 2012, Womens Aid eventually took it down from its website. Owner Claims Abortion Clinic Does Not Exist
In that letter [PDF], the IDPH also reminded Rozansky that if she did not pay the $36,000 fine, the matter would be turned over to the Illinois Attorney Generals Office. Rozansky responded with a letter [PDF] saying that Womens Aid Clinic does not exist and does not have any assets or associated bank accounts.
Womens Aid Clinic abortion facility owner Larisa Rozansky told the State of Illinois the facility would close in November 2011. Then why was it still advertising with this sign five months later? [Photo by John Jansen, April 3, 2012]
On April 5, 2012, I reported that Womens Aid Clinic was still very much in operation, and spoke with William Bell at the Illinois Department of Public Health. Per his request, I put my concerns in writing and asked him to forward them to the Illinois Attorney Generals Office and urge their office to begin proceedings against Womens Aid to collect the $36,000 fine.
The following month, Womens Aid Clinic was evicted [PDF] from its Lincolnwood location by its landlord, Hunter Properties, for failing to pay $50,000 in back rent.
In June 2012, Womens Aid Clinic moved from Lincolnwood to its current location in Chicago and changed its name to Womens Aid Center.
In August 2012, the state Attorney Generals office filed suit [PDF] against Womens Aid in Cook County Court in Chicago to begin collection proceedings. The wheels of justice turn slowly, and after numerous continuances in the case, Rozanskys attorney, Scott Skaletsky, requested an evidentiary hearing, which was held on December 3, 2013.
I attended that hearing, during which Rozansky admitted to Assistant Attorney General Vincent Kan that Womens Aid Center (the new corporation) still used the same phone number and website as Womens Aid Clinic (the old corporation), and for a period of time processed credit cards via the same Merchant Services Account number as Womens Aid Clinic (the old corporation that incurred the $36,000 fine).
Clearly, Kan argued, this shows that Womens Aid Center was a successor company to Womens Aid Clinic, and that funds from the new Womens Aid Center should be turned over to pay the fine.
Following that hearing, the case was continued until yesterday, January 14, so I was once again in court to hear the attorneys make their closing arguments.
Skaletsky, Rozanskys attorney, argued that Womens Aid Clinic and Womens Aid Center were two totally different businesses, and that when Womens Aid Clinic closed in March 2012, it had a mere $77 in its bank account. Skaletsky then told Cook County Judge Alexander White that Rozansky would be willing to write a check to the state for $77 to make this go away.
Shockingly, Judge White bought that argument, and ordered Rozansky to send a check for $77 to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Now its up to the Illinois Attorney Generals office and the Illinois Department of Public Health as to whether to keep pushing to collect more money from Womens Aid Clinic-now-its-Womens Aid Center.
But they may think thats futile and just give up. If that happens, Larisa Rozansky would pay a mere $77 two-tenths of one percent of the original fine amount of $36,000 and that would, in the words of her attorney, make this go away. And a judge is willing to let that happen. A Dangerous Precedent
This doesnt even come close to being a slap on the wrist. Its getting off scot-free.
If the AGs office and the IDPH decline to pursue the matter, think of the very dangerous precedent this sets. You can run a shoddy, dangerous abortion clinic, and even if you rack up tens of thousands of dollars in fines by state health inspectors, you can weasel your way out of it by draining your bank account, closing down, declaring the business no longer exists, moving, and reopening under a different name (albeit with the same phone number, website, and Merchant Services account number), employing stall tactics at every opportunity throughout the protracted legal processand you can get away with it.
Apparently, this is justice the Chicago way.
Other creditors were involved so it doesn’t mean the successor corporation had sufficient assets to pay fine or whether fine would have priority over other creditors.
Was in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks back.
The chance a live child may eat a Bucky Ball outweighs the certain death of an unborn child... or so the thinking goes (if there is any thinking going).
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.