Manse on Marsh owner charged with manslaughter

July 25, 2017

California Department of Justice investigators arrested the owner and a former employee of The Manse on Marsh, an independent living facility in San Luis Obispo, for their alleged culpability in the death of one of their residents.

On July 19, the California Attorney General’s Office filed charges of involuntary manslaughter and elderly and dependent adult abuse against Christopher E. Skiff, 54, and Gary L. Potts, 63. Investigators contend that Skiff and Potts knowingly and willfully endangered Mauricio Edgar Cardenas, 65, and ultimately caused his death in 2014, according to the criminal complaint.

“It was such an odd passing that caused the query,” Skiff told CalCoastNews in 2015. “The police and DA already exonerated us of any wrong doing.”

On Dec. 21, 2014, Mauricio Edgar Cardenas, 65, was attempting to cross Los Osos Valley Road in Los Osos when he was hit and killed by a 2010 Dodge Challenger driven by 26-year-old Ricardo Serafin. The California Highway Patrol determined that Serafin was not able to avoid Cardenas because of the darkness at the place where Cardenas was crossing.

On Dec. 30, 2014, The Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse received a letter that reported “Cardenas was not a suitable resident for MMALF and that the Executive Director knowingly admitted Cardenas to the facility with a dementia diagnosis and the facility lacks a dementia waiver to house such residents.”

As a result, the letter alleged Cardenas was not provided the proper care and oversight.

“There is a solid consensus that if Mr. Cardenas had been appropriately placed in a more secure environment where his unique safety needs could have been monitored – he would still be alive today,” the letter says.

On March 24, 2015, more than a dozen investigators from the state’s Medicare fraud and elder abuse division seized files and computers during the raid of the Manse on Marsh, according to a CalCoastNews exclusive. The search was conducted using a search warrant, DOJ Press Secretary Kristin Ford, said.

“We can confirm that we served a search warrant on the premises of Manse on Marsh in San Luis Obispo on March 24, 2015,” Ford said in a 2015 email. “It is an active, criminal investigation and so we can’t provide further information or comment at this time.”

The Manse on Marsh is an assisted living community that provides seniors with care and amenities. The property includes 87 apartments located in three buildings.

After investigators began searching the facility, Skiff called a group meeting for residents and staff in which he advised them to contact an attorney before speaking with investigators, a family member of a resident said.

Skiff was released from the San Luis Obispo County Jail on the same day he was booked. Gary Potts is currently being held without bail at the Smith County Jail in Texas.







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10 Comments

  1. slojustice says:

    I smell an un-elected bureaucratic rat!

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. AmericaBeautiful says:

    In California, mini bureaucrats in licensing tend to go absolutely crazy with power and control when it comes to RCFEs and Assisted Living facilities. Sue them instead, since they should have provided guidance if the Manse was out of compliance with their laws, which are so profuse that they fill a 3-inch binder.

    (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
  3. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    I have only visited at the Manse on Marsh, and shared a few meals there, but the place was warm, friendly, spotlessly clean, and residents seemed happy. I can’t believe Chris Skiff would knowingly endanger anyone. You have to sign in and sign out of these places and usually wear a visitor badge, it’s for security purposes. I would like to know more about how this man got out, etc. It just doesn’t add up.

    (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
    • saywhat says:

      Talk to the people who work there (or the people who used to work there) Their stories are different than your “seemed happy” experience.
      The abuse is not on display.
      Greed is always at the bottom of these problems.

      (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
  4. Jorge Estrada says:

    Sadly our culture puts our parents into the equivalent of human kennels where they can be kept somewhat happy until proven broke. Another thought for the wealthy to consider, if you don’t fly first class, your children will.

    (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
  5. TheManse says:

    We understand the Community’s concern. However, CalCoastNews did not reach out to The Manse on Marsh for comment.

    Please see The Manse on Marsh’s Press Release here: http://www.themanse.net/newsroom

    You will find a statement by the CEO and documentation from the Department of Social Services that exonerates The Manse.

    (9) 15 Total Votes - 12 up - 3 down
    • kayaknut says:

      If I were you I would not have included the statement about being rated best by the Tribune, that really doesn’t help your case. Most people know the Tribunes ability for rating someone or something the “Best” is unreliable.

      (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
  6. Ricky2 says:

    This is a sick criminal charge. How could Skiff be responsible for one of his residents walking in front of a car 15 miles away from the place? This makes no sense. Besides, if Skiff is keeping people in assisted living as long as possible, I say hooray for him. That sort of environment is so much more humane, and much less costly, than a nursing home. So the guy would still be alive today? Kept drugged and in bed 24/7 in some gawdawful nursing home? That’s not much of a life. I wish Skiff the best with this idiocy. He may actually be the good guy in all of this.

    My bet is some local nursing home operator is behind the complaint that led to this arrest.

    (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
  7. vmmill42 says:

    There must be more to this story. “more than a dozen investigators from the state’s Medicare fraud and elder abuse division seized files and computers during the raid of the Manse on Marsh, according to a CalCoastNews exclusive.”
    Wow.

    (22) 32 Total Votes - 27 up - 5 down
  8. Snoid says:

    Nah…say it aint so. After KSBY and JT support them. Cant be true here at the happiest place on earth.

    (9) 21 Total Votes - 15 up - 6 down

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