The establishment of the Nursing Home for the Aged was supported and implemented with donations of real estate or funds by a number of people: The offspring of George Kassimatis (Basil, Gregory, Anthony and Helen), Leon. Megalokonomos, Klir. Manolatos, M. Kitsogiannopoulos, Sofia Aroni, Sp. Souris, Kal. Kastrisios, Sofia Sarigianni, G. kastrisios, Bros. Panaretos, Mar. Mauropoulos, Froso Karydi, Stam. Zantiotis, Mina Mylonopoulou and many others. The construction works in Potamos Kythera started in1967 on a site donated by Kassimatis. The two story building finished in 1975 and it started operating from the August of the same year, originally with 12 inmates.
History of George Sklavos Bequest
Our Kytherian compatriot George Sklavos, with his last will and testament of 12/7/1946, instructed his wife to transfer post-mortem to the Kytherian Brotherhood of Queensland the ½ undivided of his two consecutive real estate pieces Atlas and Star at the Queensland capital Brisbane (127 Adelaide Street), with the specific mandate to create a “Sanatorium” in Kythera with the proceeds of this real estate.
George Sklavos passed away in 1952 and the ½ undivided of the two consecutive buildings were indeed transferred to the Kytherian Brotherhood as Trustee for their management and the implementation of the Sklavos’ wish. This was the “Sklavos Bequest”. The relatives of the late George Sklavos challenged at the Australian court Sklavos’ last will requesting the repeal of the bequest, going as far as the Supreme Court of Australia in Sydney. The Australian Justice rejected the appeal of Sklavos relatives and saved the bequest in favour of Kythera. Since then, many years passed inactive, without The Kytherian Brotherhood proceeding to the execution of Sklavos’ will. Meanwhile, with the complete combating of tuberculosis, there was no more a need for a Sanatorium and neither for a hospital since already existed one.
By the end of the 1960’s, presidents and Board of Directors members of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Queensland agreed to support the existing Nursing Home for the aged in Kythera, making available out of the income from the Sklavos’ bequest the cost for the construction of a bedridden ward. The construction was indeed started, but the Brotherhood, after sending a small initial amount, stopped financing the works. The ward was finished up with the generous offer of 15,000,000 drachmas by the late Theodore Souris, as well as the finance by the Trifylleion Foundation. In the meantime, the then President of the Trifylleion Foundation Professor George Kassimatis jointly with the Secretary General, the late Dimitrios Komis, made continuous efforts, even with the President travelling to Brisbane, requesting from the administration of the Brotherhood to continue the financial support of the Nursing Home. The late Gregory kassimatis made also tireless efforts especially travelling to Brisbane. Furthermore, a friend of Gregory Kassimatis, George Hatziplis of Sydney who was married to a Kytherian lady and a passionate Philo-Kytherian was also involved with a great zeal.
All these efforts were fruitless, bumping into the persistent refusal of the Brotherhood administration. The Trifylleion Foundation could not afford at that time to take any legal action in the Australian courts. Mr. Hatziplis then stepped in and guaranteed with 100,000 dollars the hire of one of the largest Australian law firm to proceed to the court for issuing a decision ordering that the income from the Sklavos’ Bequest be sent to the Nursing Home in Kythera.
The trial took place at Brisbane in 1973 with the personal appearance as a witness of the president of the Trifylleion Foundation George Kassimatis. With the very well prepared presentation for the trial, the Foundation managed to persuade the court that the fulfillment of the testator's will for a “Sanatorium” in Kythera is infeasible, since this kind of care is not any more necessary, neither is a hospital needed, considering that the State Trifylleion Hospital already existed. The court was also convinced for the following issues: the care of the aged was needed for the island; the bedridden ward, already built by the Foundation, has all the modern international standards; and the Trifylleion Foundation due to its charity mission is a high reliability Institution.
Subsequently, the court, after making an additional checking of the Brotherhood’s records and found maladministration, removed the “trustee’ status from the Brotherhood and assigned it to the Trifylleion Foundation, with the order that the proceeds from the Sklavos’ Bequest be allocated to the Nursing Home in Kythera. The court also asked the president of the Foundation George Kassimatis whether the Foundation would wish the continuance of the proceedings and the criminal conviction of the Brotherhood administration for mismanagement (note that no old incomes were found). The response from George Kassimatis was negative.
The problems however never ended. The co-owner of the other ½ of the property and ex-Secretary of the Brotherhood Mr. Patty consistently refused the repair of the buildings, which were already old, resulting in the tenants abandoning it and therefore generating no income. Mr. Hatziplis then offered once more his help. With a proxy by the Board of Directors of the Trifylleion Foundation (President the late Professor John Stratigos) requested from the Australian court to put in auction the whole building on grounds of the harmful attitude of the co-owner towards the building. The petition was approved and the auction took place on 30.9.1999. Representing the Trifylleion Foundation, Mr. Hatziplis was present at the auction, and taking by surprise the other interested parties, offered the first and in fact last bid, purchasing thus the whole building on behalf of the Trifylleion Foundation at the very low price of 1,225,000 Australian dollars.
Subsequently, Mr. Hatziplis proceeded under his personal supervision in the joining together of the two separate buildings and after a complete renovation of the new unit, leased it on behalf of the Trifylleion Foundation. As a result of all this, the whole George Sklavos building passed in the full and complete ownership of the Trifylleion Foundation of Kytherians. Its management has been entrusted to a private management agent under the control of an office of Chartered Auditors in Brisbane, in collaboration with the Office of Chartered Auditors in Athens of our compatriot George Kassimatis (Drymoniatis) who is in charge of auditing the Trifylleion Foundation. Mr. Hatziplis was appointed by the court as the “trustee” of the Sklavos Bequest that, after the purchase of the whole building by the Trifylleion Foundation, consists of the amount of 650,000 Australian dollars, equal to the purchase price of ½ of the whole Sklavos building. Currently, an effort is made by the representatives of the Trifylleion Foundation in Australia to obtain an income tax exemption.
The “KASSITATEION” Nursing Home for the Aged in Kythera is under the authority and management of the “TRFYLLEION FOUNDATION OF KYTHERIANS”, but it operates under a 5-person Local Committee supervision with a 3-year mandate, appointed by the Trifylleion Foundation. According to article 1 of the Nursing Home Organization, the post of the Committee members is without pay and honorary. The duties of the Local Committee and in general the functioning of the Nursing Home are regulated by the special Organization drafted and approved by the Board of Directors in 1975. Currently (2016), the Local Committee members whose tenure is terminated in 31.1.2017 are the following:
George Kalligeros, Chairman.
George Sofios, Vice-chairman.
Anthony Protopsaltis, Secretary.
Stamatina Samiou, Treasurer
George Lourantos, Member
The staff of the Nursing Home enumerates 22 persons. According to article 6 of the Organization, they are hired through a selection among the better qualified from those applying for the openings offered. They sign private law contracts and their wages are determined by the current collective bargaining agreements. The duties and the responsibilities of the personnel are determined by the Local Committee.
According to article 11 of the Organization, the Nursing Home accepts in residence elderly persons-with preference to Kytherian permanent residents –of both genders, over 60 years of age, unable to work, primarily
those without any means of subsistence or abandoned, who have no relatives capable of taking care of them. The care at the Nursing Home is free of charge; however, the inmates with some income would contribute a sum commensurate with their maintenance costs, determined by the Local Committee.
According to article 13 of the 1975 Nursing Home Organization, inmates are admitted following the application submitted by the interested elderly or of their relatives, the local community councilor, or the Priest of the parish. The application must be accompanied by the following documents: birth and family status certificates from the Municipality and affirmation of the parish priest that the applicant is in need for admission to the Nursing Home. The applicant is then examined by the official doctor of Nursing Home, certifying whether the applicant falls within the restrictions of article 11 concerning the admission to the Nursing Home. Next, the application is examined by the Local Committee and the Board of Directors of the Foundation and is approved or rejected.
Basic Information and Conditions for the Admission of Inmates
As it is well known, the Nursing Home has its own property and income, its economic management being by law autonomous (Autonomous Account of Trifylleion Foundation). Any shortages in its budget are covered by the Trifylleion Foundation.
For quite some years now, the composition of the inmates has changed. The overwhelming majority are bedridden or incapable of taking care of themselves. This has in essence changed the Nursing Home into an asylum of helpless elderly, raising consequently to a considerable degree the cost of operation and the cost per bed.
The contributions by the inmates cover, on the average, only about one-third of the monthly expenses of their beds, in spite of the fact that certain of them have a family property. Unfortunately, in some cases, the descendants of the inmates keep the property for themselves and commit their elderly relatives to the Nursing Home. This, in effect, ends up with the exploitation of the Nursing Home and the Foundation, and in the final analysis of all those who donated their fortune for the good of the island.
The rest of the cost is covered by: a) the income from the property or the reserve of the Nursing Home and b) a significant annual contribution by the Trifylleion Foundation. If this situation continues, the Nursing Home may reach the point to be unable to take care even of the needy compatriots, while the Foundation wouldn’t be able to finance any other community projects or activities for supporting the youth and the qualitative development of the island.
For alleviating this situation, the Board of Directors of the Trifylleion Foundation decided to reorganize on a more rational basis the operation of the Nursing Home, in a way that the cost of its functioning be met by the income from its property, provided by the donors and devisors exclusively for the care of the elderly.
According to the principles of the charity institutions, the Nursing Home would provide without limit as many beds as needed for the free of charge care of the elderly who have neither “family property” nor any pension. Those with a small pension would contribute half of it for their sustenance. As “family property” are considered the assets owned by the inmates themselves jointly with the property owned by the persons that have the obligation to support them. If there are no such persons, the heirs (relatives or not) of the applicants would decide how they can contribute.
The rest of the newcomers into the Nursing home would contribute in proportion with their assets and their own incomes or the incomes of their family, at least up to the amount required for covering the expenses of their living relative to the bed category (one-bed, two-bed, three-bed, bedridden, common, interior, exterior, etc) that they choose.
Any interested applicant that belongs to the category of those that own property may be asked to donate, if so wishes, instead of money some other piece of property (farm, land or real estate). In such a case, there would be an estimation of the value of the contribution by the tax office or any other competent public service.
The admission to the Nursing Home will be effectuated after a written application of the would be inmate, a relative, a heir or other representative. If one is interested to be admitted free of charge, he or she should submit relative documents that prove the lack of property, as well as the amount of the pension. For the evaluation of small value property relative documents would also be requested.
The disposition of beds in a price has the exclusive purpose of complementing the cost for the poor inmates and it does not in any case aims at a profit.
With these regulations, the Board of Directors of the Trifylleion Foundation: renders the Nursing Home a charity bequest, for it will provide free of charge care to the really needy poor, as well as care (non-profit) to all Kytherians that wish to be admitted, without however, shifting the cost to others. It puts this way a restrain to the exploitation of the charity endowment of the Nursing Home by those who can bear the cost of care of their own elderly person.