Clients exploited by not-for-profit, says judge - WSMV Channel 4

Clients exploited by not-for-profit, says judge

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GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -

A Sumner County judge has ruled that a Nashville not-for-profit exploited a woman in its care, using the woman and other disabled adults living in its group homes as unpaid labor.

Circuit Judge C.L. Rogers ordered the operators of the not-for-profit group, Salim Homes, to pay its former client Ginger Franklin $23,000. Punitive damages are still pending.

Rogers wrote, "The court finds this to be an egregious and intentional abuse of the Plaintiff."

Court documents show Franklin was placed in Salim Homes by her court-appointed conservator, Jeannan Stuart, while Franklin was recovering from a brain injury from falling down a flight of stairs in 2008.

Franklin said she was expected to work for free at Salim Homes, even though she was paying to live there.

"I was dispensing medication, I was doing all of the cleaning, all of the shopping, all of the cooking for the residents," Franklin said.

"Normally when you have a job, you get paid. I was paying them $850 a month to let them work me like that," she said.

Franklin said she couldn't leave because her Stuart controlled her bank account and had taken possession of her car and her home.

"I was trapped. I felt like a prisoner," Franklin said.

Attorney Randy Lucas represented Franklin.

"The problem is there are too few people who either are competent enough to complain themselves or who have enough people to complain on their behalf," he said.

The owners of Salim Homes, Lisa and Jamie Frazier, told Channel 4 that Franklin was never forced to work for free.

"She's mad at her guardian and we're caught in the middle," Lisa Frazier said.

Franklin said the Fraziers had her clean their private home and even the private homes of their relatives for free.

"That's incredible, isn't it? Who has the nerve to do that?" Franklin asked.

The Fraziers' attorney did not return a call from Channel 4.

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