Deal ends board fight at Baltimore AIDS hospice

Richey House stays open

judge helps resolve dispute

October 19, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A bitter dispute among board members of Joseph Richey House has been resolved, ensuring that Baltimore's pioneering AIDS and cancer hospice will remain open.

The feud - which involved a stalemate between three board members of the Mount Calvary Church and three board members from the Episcopal All Saints Sisters of the Poor - was settled this month through negotiations led by Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan.

Lawsuits filed by the church and the nuns against one other had threatened the future of the hospice, which the two groups created in 1980 and named after a former rector of Mount Calvary.

Joseph Richey is one of two hospices caring for terminally ill AIDS patients in Baltimore, many of them African-American, under a federal program for the poor, according to city health officials. The hospice cares for about 350 terminally ill patients each year.

Under the settlement, the church will appoint four trustees to an 11-member board, and the nuns will appoint three. The four remaining positions will be filled by people with expertise and background in issues involved in running the hospice, and they will be picked by Kaplan, said Aron U. Raskas, an attorney representing the hospice.

"The hospice is now poised to proceed forward," Raskas said. "Judge Kaplan's willingness to become involved and mediate the dispute was another example of how valuable he is on the bench to the city and the community."

The new board also will take up consideration of Joseph Richey's plans to open a 10-bed hospice for children. The effort - which has raised more than $1 million - was put on hold during the legal dispute.

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