|Evergreen Place as it appeared from the outside in July 2021, while under the management and ownership of Ignacio Gonzalez-Villarruel and Gustavo Gonzalez Sr. (Google)|
by: Derick Fox
MIDVALE, Utah (ABC4) — Two men who managed an unlicensed assisted living home in Midvale have now been charged with several charges involving unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, financial exploitation, and licensing violations.
Ignacio N. Gonzalez-Villarruel, 23, and Jorge Gustavo Gonzalez Sr., 54, both face five felony charges of intentional financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, five misdemeanor charges of intentional abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, and a misdemeanor charge for a licensing violation endangering persons in a human services program.
Charging documents describe Evergreen Place as having grimy floors, filthy carpeting, dirty walls, overflowing trash, stained bedding, and an insect infestation, all of which became “progressively worse” over a period of six months.
One member of Valley Behavioral Health told prosecutors the immediate space guests walked into often smelled like urine or feces. In January 2022, raw sewage reportedly flooded the basement and backed up into the living quarters.
“At one point, a resident was observed walking through sewage water in his bare feet,” charging documents say. “In this period, the defendants made no known efforts to find alternate housing for the residents, or to notify their families or caseworkers.”
There were also reports of the furnace for the facility had broken, with one resident complaining he “nearly froze to death” from the cold.
Residents of Evergreen Place were also allegedly subject to crowded conditions with only one working shower, not getting medications, and a staff shortage that locked up food at 5 p.m. when they left for the day.
“The most basic of residents’ daily-living needs were not addressed,” allege prosecutors in the charging documents.
As staff and health personnel raised their concerns with Ignacio and Gustavo, they were allegedly met with excuses and the repeated claim they were “working on it,” according to charging documents.
After several health code violations and the overall conditions, Evergreen Place was shut down on January 2022. Residents reportedly had to go through a decontamination process, with charging documents saying one resident was covered in bedbugs.
Charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed
innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.