HARTFORD, Conn. - The head of Travis Tritt's record label is the focus of a state probe into whether federal funds meant for nursing home care were illegally used for other purposes, including a lakeside home and the record company's launch.See Also:
State officials are investigating whether Connecticut nursing home operator Raymond Termini misappropriated Medicaid money. Termini, CEO of Haven Healthcare, is also the president and chief executive officer of Nashville, Tenn.-based Category 5 Records.
The label signed Tritt to a four-year deal in 2006. Its other artists include Sammy Kershaw, George Jones and Shauna, according to the company Web site.
Termini said this week that he was angered by the allegations, and denied using Medicaid money improperly. He said money for the record label and a lakefront house in Middlefield came from refinancing some of Haven Healthcare's properties, transactions he said did not affect patient care.
Haven Healthcare has been fined more than 45 times in three years by state and federal health agencies for poor patient care at its 25 nursing homes in New England. Termini said his company acted quickly to address problems, adding that its patient care record is similar to or better than other health care companies.
But on Monday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said the state may need to take over some of Haven's Connecticut nursing homes to ensure proper patient care because of possible financial problems.
Tritt's manager, Duke Cooper, said Tuesday that Tritt has had difficulties with the record label and is prepared to take legal action against Termini to protect his interests. He said Tritt is particularly concerned about reports of poor nursing home conditions, including patient deaths, neglect, and a lack of heat because of unpaid bills.
"Travis being a family man ... certainly doesn't condone any of that, if it turns out to be true," Cooper said. "It's a sad situation."
Tritt has sold more than 25 million records over two decades, earning two Grammy Awards and three CMAs. He released his first album with Category 5, "The Storm," in August and plans a yearlong tour beginning in January.
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