Wade Budney says his service in the U.S. Army led him to help seniors in Kern.
“I started seeing a lot of people that weren’t healthy, and a lot of seniors and it really became a passion of mine to help people,” explained Budney.
Budney has owned “A Helping Hand Senior Care Services” for 11 years.
The business has an A+ Better Business Bureau grade.
So Budney was surprised when he was named in an elder abuse lawsuit.
“It caught me off guard,” said Budney.
Carol Owens, widow of Paul Owens, sued Budney along with senior rehabilitation company Brookdale Senior Living and Silvercrest Manor, a senior assisted living home.
Owens accused Budney of fraud, and Brookdale and Silvercrest of elder abuse and wrongful death of her husband Paul Owens.
The suit argues Paul Owens was mistreated while in the care of Brookdale, and then Budney manipulated Owens into using his transportation services.
“[Budney] said this Medicare is running low, he’s gonna have to be transferred to an assisted living facility,” said Owens in July.
Budney says Brookdale told Owens that, not him.
“In my role, in my responsibility I would have no access to that,” said Budney.
The suit alleges Budney recklessly transported Owens from Brookdale to Silvercrest.
“Budney puts him in his personal vehicle–this is a guy with two stage three pressure ulcers, a urinary catheter, a broken leg, hasn’t had rehab yet,” said Owens’ attorney Matt Clark of Chain Cohn Stiles.
Budney says Carol Owens was presented with transportation options, and she–with Brookdale’s clearance and due to cost–agreed to her husband being transported in Budney’s personal Honda Crosstour.
We asked if that was appropriate.
“I would say it was a suitable option,” said Budney adding Brookdale and Owens were fully aware of the choices.
But Owens said she felt intimidated.
“I was told if he wasn’t transferred that Wade would call and report me for elder abuse,” said Owens.
“At no time was there any communication about reporting her or anyone else for elder abuse,” said Budney.
“I just continue to look forward to be able to serve the community of Kern County and help the families who have loved ones who maybe can no longer live at home safely,” added Budney.
Brookdale would not comment on pending litigation and we left messages and our card for managers at Silvercrest but did not hear back.