Minister under investigation ducks News 2 cameras
BATON ROUGE - News 2 continued to investigate a Baton Rouge minister who said he's caring for dozens of mentally challenged people, even though the state says he's not licensed to do so.
Reginald Stewman is under investigation from state and federal agencies about his business, his taxes, and his actions caring for 36 people in exchange for a cut of their Social Security checks. Last week, Stewman moved all the residents from one Baton Rouge apartment complex to another following an ongoing rent dispute.
The state Department of Health and Hospitals said they have no licensing records for Stewman at either facility, which are necessary to provide regulated care to people with special needs. They did provide some licenses they had on file for Stewman's company, all of which had been revoked or expired.
One company owned by Stewman, called Indigent Partial Hospitalization and based in Gonzales, filed bankruptcy back in March with debts totaling around $134,000. That company was paid more than $300,000 through a federal grant program called "Access to Recovery", according to documents obtained by News 2. Payment stopped in 2010 after DHH said it failed to meet minimum federal requirements for data collection and reporting.
Stewman hid from News 2's cameras Wednesday, speeding away from the property his tenants are now staying in. He said last week that he was "called by God" to care for them.
"If I did not take care of these people, these people would not have anyone to take care of them. We need state assistance, and federal assistance, to assist and take care of these individuals," he said.
Meanwhile, Stewman is awaiting sentencing after he pleaded guilty to charges of IRS fraud in connection with a health care business he owned in Baton Rouge from 2000 to 2010. The government said he owes nearly $200,000 in federal taxes, and could receive up to three years in jail as well as a hefty fine.