Investigations

New information about former health care CEO

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Former healthcare CEO Christopher Luis has declared bankruptcy even though he owns a beautiful townhouse near SoHo. Luis says that profits from the sale of the home will go to his many former unpaid workers.

Eyewitness News found out that is a line that keeps growing.

"When I started this business, I went into debt. I had to borrow and borrow," said Luis.

Using YouTube, the CEO of Brightstar Healthcare just weeks before closing down the franchise last September, painted a bright future for his many unpaid workers.

"I'm working on contracts, working on new deals. I will press on the accelerator, wave the flag, " said Luis, "there are scores of people who want to do business with us, want to do business with me. We're going to get tons of work, a lot more effort. More opportunity for everybody."

Delrose McKenzie says Christopher Luis owes her $20,000 in back pay and overtime for 5 months of work as a supervisor for his home-health aide company. She says she stayed because she initially believed his memos promising bonuses for late pay checks:

"Sometimes, I used to work seven days a week twelve hours," said McKenzie, who adds that she got no pay.

Eyewitness News has spoken to a dozen workers claiming they're owed tens of thousands of dollars. They say they kept working despite not being paid because they felt bad about walking away from their patients.

" When I go there, he hadn't had breakfast, nothing - so like if I wouldn't be able to go to him, he wouldn't be able to get up, go to the bathroom or do anything, so I was sorry for him, so I hold on to the case to help him," said Vivett Morris.

"Do you follow me on that on? Look me in the eye - do you follow me?" said Luis.

When Eyewitness News tracked Christopher Luis down to get some answers, he was initially combative.

"You're a phony because you don't care about me. I lost one million dollars, I lost my house, I lost my savings. The banks were going to give me a loan and it fell through," he said.

When asked if Luis got a half million dollar loan, he replied, "In 2008, moron. In 2008, I got the half million dollar loan. It went to pay the wages - the highest wages in the city."

Luis admits he owes workers at least $90,000 in back pay. He says his problems began when the health insurance companies short-changed him for reimbursement of services.

"The business went bankrupt, what part of that don't you understand?" Luis adds.

Luis adds that he kept stringing the employees along because the money was coming, and he was led to believe by the banks that the was going to get money. Once I got the final decision that be bank wasn't going to give him money, the business shot down. He says he lost a million dollars  his life savings.

Luis: "What am I supposed to do? I lost a million dollar," Luis said, when he was asked what the workers were supposed to do.

However the broke Mr. Luis does have assets. He and his estranged wife own a luxury, four-story townhouse on the edge of SoHo. It's on sale for nearly $7 million. He says any profits he makes from it will go to pay his former workers.

Luis says that one way or the other, the workers will get their money.

Eyewitness News has learned that the State Department of Labor ''is currently investigating'' Mr. Luis and is "seeking to collect the unpaid wages".

The workers say they're losing hope.

"It's been a year now and nothing has been done," said Marlene Brown.

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