A judge in Des Moines has ordered the owner of two southwest Iowa care homes and her husband to report to jail after finding both in contempt.

District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson sentenced Mary Morse-Bolton and her husband, John Bolton, to 90 days in jail after she found them in violation of an order that placed the now-defunct Iowa facilities in receivership and prohibited her from transferring any assets.

The assets needed to be preserved, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office said in a court filing, because Morse-Bolton could be partially liable for a $3 million Medicaid debt the state says her Iowa facilities had accumulated. But authorities allege that Morse-Bolton’s company agreed to pay Bolton $15,000 in a “security agreement” in February, and she sold her interest in two residential properties in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, to him for $1 each in March.

Morse-Bolton, 55, and her husband, 64, residents of Plattsmouth, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But they have indicated that they will appeal the order.

In a hearing on the matter last week, the couple said they were confused by the judge’s Feb. 13 order. But Gunderson wrote in her most recent order that she didn’t find that credible.

“The court not only finds that defendants acted willfully, but they acted with a blatant and brash disregard for the court’s order,” Gunderson wrote.

The Iowa facilities, Kevington Lane in Sidney and Faith Ridge Life Center in Malvern, were taken over Feb. 14 by Klaasmeyer & Associates of Omaha, which assists nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. It found them to be “in financial peril,” according to a state request to “wind down” and close the centers.

According to the request, Kevington Lane had “no money to pay for propane used for heat and cooking. ... Residents of Faith Ridge Life Center have not been receiving needed therapy and dietary services.”

On Feb. 28, Gunderson granted the request to close the facilities and gave Morse-Bolton until March 8 to disclose her assets. The property transfers were recorded on March 7.

Morse-Bolton and her daughter, Kristine Anne Morse, 29, of Sidney, face separate criminal charges related to the operation of Kevington Lane.

Morse-Bolton is charged with multiple felonies, including theft and fraudulent practices. She has pleaded not guilty.

Morse was charged with three counts of forgery and 16 counts of tampering with records, all misdemeanors, among other charges. She, too, has pleaded not guilty.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1310, andrew.nelson@owh.com

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