Federal lawmakers ask for reopening Heights Hospital, but documents show owners owe millions

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Owners of closed Heights Hospital owe millions, documents show
A note posted on the hospital's doors said the closure is due to back rent, but a lawsuit filed shows it's more than just rent.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Federal lawmakers are working to get a clinic reopened after it was abruptly closed, leaving hundreds of patients stranded.

Doctors who worked at the clinic inside the Heights Hospital said they saw upwards of 500 patients a week. These are patients they're now desperately trying to reach.

"All I can do is apologize and tell them I'm sorry for not being able to see them and not being able to live up my duties," Dr. John Thomas said.

Doctors said they were blindsided after a lock, and a note, appeared on the door Monday stating the clinic was closed due to back rent.

SEE ALSO: Heights Hospital closes because owners are behind on rent, notice says

"We've frantically tried to get ahold of patients and let them know we don't have a clinic right now, and hold off," Thomas recalled. "We still have patients that showed up today."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee visited the hospital Monday. She sent ABC13 the following statement:

"This morning, I reached out to the representatives of the owners of the loan on the building. The owners are in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I wanted them to instruct their local counsel to do the right thing, which is to allow doctors to be able to practice in the building for 45 days with the proper procedures in place, so their patients can be treated and that the doctors' ultimate move is done orderly. Right now, the owners of this loan are crushing patient care in the area surrounding the Heights community. I ask that these parties get together in the name of good medicine and the dignity of these patients. For that reason, I am in the midst of conversations with all of the representatives and I expect results as soon as possible."

The note posted on the hospital's doors said the closure is due to back rent, but a lawsuit filed days ago in Harris County court shows the owners owe more than just rent.

Arbitra Capital Partners, LLC filed the lawsuit against Dharmesh Patel and James Day. The agency alleges the pair took out a note of $28 million for the hospital in 2019.

Since then, Arbitra said it's owed nearly $3.7 million in interest. It has received $207,265 in rent but said it's not enough, and it wants nearly $3.5 million.

ABC13 contacted Patel and Day on Tuesday, but was referred to a property management group. A person answered the phone and said, "No comment," and hung up.

"It's kind of disheartening," said patient Aneida Alexander. "Kind of frightening too ... to have the rug jerked from under us with this. I'm so disappointed in whoever is running the place."

Doctors hope they can get records and supplies soon, because if the owners don't reopen, they will be forced to go somewhere else.

"It puts me in a real bind with my patients," Thomas explained. "I currently have another building that I'm looking at leasing so I can see my patients this week."

As far as reopening the clinic, Congresswoman Jackson Lee said she expects results as soon as possible. She adds she's also looking for federal relief.

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