Breaking New York Times Report: Eric Hovde’s Bank Sued for Wrongful Death and Elder Abuse

Apr 20, 2024

Breaking New York Times Report: Eric Hovde’s Bank Sued for Wrongful Death and Elder Abuse

MADISON, Wis. — A must-read, breaking news report from the New York Times details how Sunwest Bank, the bank that Eric Hovde owns and serves as CEO and Chairman of, is currently being sued for elder abuse and wrongful death over a nursing home in Claremont, California.

The bombshell report from the New York Times comes after Hovde has spent the last weeks talking about how he believes nursing home residents should not be allowed to vote, which has drawn criticism from everyone including Wisconsin seniors and caregivers to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Read the bombshell New York Times report below: 

New York Times: Lawsuit Puts Fresh Focus on Eric Hovde’s Comments About Older Voters

  • Eric Hovde, the Republican banking executive challenging Senator Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, may be developing a problem with older voters. The bank he leads, Utah-based Sunwest, last month was named as a co-defendant in a California lawsuit that accuses a senior living facility partly owned by the bank of elder abuse, negligence and wrongful death. […]

  • In 2021, Sunwest Bank seized the property of a 68-bed assisted living facility in Claremont, Calif., after its owners failed to repay a $6 million loan. The next year, Betty Nottoli, a 94-year-old woman with dementia, moved into the renamed Claremont Hacienda, then owned in part by a newly created subsidiary of Sunwest.

  • According to a lawsuit filed by her daughter, Patricia Chiuppi, Ms. Nottoli had a series of falls that Ms. Chiuppi says were caused by neglect. Court documents assert that the staff of the facility failed to install pull cords, pendants, bed rails or a bed alarm even after a fall in March. Then, on the night of April 4, 2022, another fall broke Ms. Nottoli’s hip, “which ultimately led to her death on June 19, 2022,” court documents say.

  • Lisa Flint, the lawyer representing Ms. Chiuppi, declined to comment at length, saying discovery in the suit was just beginning, with a trial date set for March 25, 2025.“The documentation from the facility showed bruising, injuries to arms, head, but no real investigation into her falls,” Ms. Flint said.

  • On March 25, Ms. Flint amended the complaint to name one of the place-holder defendants: Mr. Hovde’s Sunwest Bank, identified legally as one of the “owners, officers, administrators, managers and/or members” of the elder care facility.

  • Mr. Hovde has himself drawn attention to his work in the nursing home world. Pressed by a Milwaukee television newscaster this month on his claims of “issues” in the 2020 election, Mr. Hovde replied, “Look, I do lending into the nursing home community, or used to.” And it is true: Sunwest has claimed millions of dollars in revenue from its assisted living properties, including Claremont Hacienda.

  • Mr. Hovde went on to cite allegations of voter fraud, appearing to suggest that residents were not in a condition to vote: “The average life expectancy in a nursing home is four to five months. How can you have, you know, the Racine County sheriff finding 100 percent of the people voting, and by the way, kids of parents, elderly parents who are dying, saying, ‘Who voted for my parent? Who did that?’”

  • Days later, Mr. Hovde pressed a similar point on the Guy Benson political talk show. “If you’re in a nursing home, you only have a five-, six-month life expectancy,” he said. “Almost nobody in a nursing home is at a point to vote, and you had children, adult children, showing up, saying, ‘Who voted for my 85- or 90-year-old father or mother?’”

  • Mr. Hovde’s suggestion that “almost nobody in a nursing home is at a point to vote” has attracted considerable attention. In Wisconsin, people 65 or older make up 18 percent of the state’s population — and thus a significant voting bloc, especially since they have a high propensity to vote.

  • This week, he reiterated his belief that “a large percentage” of nursing home residents “are not in the mental capacity to” vote. 

  • That might not put the matter to rest — especially since Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, known in much of the country as a Los Angeles Lakers great but remembered by Wisconsin residents of a certain age as a Milwaukee Bucks star, weighed in.

  • “What’s troubling here is his desire to take away the rights of people who have spent a lifetime contributing to this country based on a physical attribute: age,” Mr. Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his Substack account. He added: “Even if there was some fraud, the goal should be to uncover it, not deny everyone in nursing homes the vote.”

  • On April 12, the Wisconsin Democratic Party organized a protest against Mr. Hovde in Milwaukee with a small clutch of older voters, elder care workers and nursing home employees. On a windy, cool day, assisted living residents took turns at a Lucite lectern denouncing the Republican and vowing to vote against him.

  • “It’s clear California bank owner Eric Hovde does not care about seniors or their families,” said Arik Wolk, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party.