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Former Grace Manor workers receiving settlement checks

After years of delay, 200 former employees of the Grace Manor Nursing Home are receiving checks of between $900 and $5,000 for back pay and vacation days owed to them since the Symphony Circle nursing home closed its doors in 2009.

The former workers will receive an average payout of $1,500 to settle the suit filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East on the employees’ behalf, the union reported Wednesday.

The money for the court-ordered settlement comes from the sale of the property, said Todd Hobler, a vice president with 1199SEIU. Developer Carl Paladino bought the nursing home at a public auction in 2010 for $1.6 million and converted it into offices for Gateway-Longview and high-end apartments.

Formerly the Rosa Coplon Jewish Home, the property underwent $7 million in renovations in 1997 before reopening the following year as the first minority-owned nursing home in Buffalo.

Grace Manor struggled with insufficient Medicaid reimbursements for years, losing millions of dollars before it went into receivership in 2008 with Kaleida Health as the operator.

When Grace Manor closed in May 2009, workers and their union argued the facility didn’t give them the required advance notice of the shutdown.

Bankruptcy court approved a settlement two years ago, according to the union, that provided workers up to three weeks of back pay and two weeks of vacation pay. But procedural issues, including questions of tax liability, delayed the final settlement checks until now.