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News Maryland Sun Investigates

LifeLine improperly documented board members, several say

As The Baltimore Sun investigated years of financial and regulatory problems surrounding LifeLine, a Maryland company that operated group homes for disabled adults and children, requests for comment went out to the five people listed as members of its board of directors.

That produced some unusual responses.

Banker Anthony T. Carpenter was listed as heading the board, according to LifeLine's December relicensing application, which The Sun obtained through a Public Information Act request.

"This is a fictitious board," Carpenter said in an interview. "We never met."

Two others listed as board members said they had similar experiences.

Ruth Quispe said she never served on the board, though her daughter had been a resident at LifeLine. The daughter was well-treated there, Quispe said.

Frank Marchant said he hadn't been on the board in more than three years.

The Sun confirmed that a fourth member listed by the company, Stephanie Stokes of Pikesville, is an employee at the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services; she did not respond to requests to confirm that she held that position. A fifth member could not be reached.

Carpenter said he first met LifeLine founder Randall Martin years ago when the Baltimore County businessman was one of Carpenter's clients.

"He told me about his business. It seemed like a good thing. He wanted me to be on his board of directors," Carpenter said. "Before I knew it, I was listed as the board chairman."

The company would send him updates, but Carpenter said he had no other interaction with LifeLine.

"If I were really board [president] I'd have more information for you," he said.

LifeLine officials did not respond to requests for comment.

State officials are investigating the July 2 death of 10-year-old Damaud Martin, who suffered cardiac arrest at a group home that LifeLine operated from a set of Laurel-area apartments. Investigators will examine whether LifeLine's care was adequate — a problem noted by state inspectors in recent years at the company's homes for adults and children — but state officials have said it is too early to draw conclusions.

ddonovan@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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