Allegations Of Corruption Involving City Of Worcester Health And Human Services Commissioner

By Jonathan Burgos –

After two death and reports to the city and state of fraud and misconduct, residents, staff and citizens are asking the authorities to take a deeper and closer look at the Latin American Health Alliance, Hector Reyes House and Cafe Reyes.

Investigative reporter Jonathan Burgos from NewsTalkNewEngland after receiving information from confidential sources decided to start an investigation of his own.

Looking in from the outside you see two distinguished Doctors, one an OBGYN at UMASS Memorial, and the other who is the Commissioner of Health and Human Services in the City Of Worcester and is the Co-founder of LAHA/Hector Reyes House, and their Medical Director.

They are husband and wife who behind the scenes run an organization that has many complaints of alleged Fraud, Misconduct, Wrongful Termination of employees, Federal Violations, and Medical Malpractice against them. So why might you ask, are they getting away with such things!?

The answer is simple, a board Of directors that looks the other way because of Doctor Matilde Castiel’s influence and the Bureau Of Substance Abuse (BSAS). Who is their top Director is a close friend of the Doctor whom they sit together at State and City events.

Dr Castiel while employed for the City Of Worcester is not supposed to have anything to do with decisions or changes to LAHA besides being the Medical Director who allegedly on every Tuesday is at the Vernon street site to provide medication to the programs residents.

Her husband Doctor Aaron Mendel who delivers babies for a living is listed on paper to be the Executive Director for LAHA. Even though former staff and staff that work for the organization currently say that he stepped down recently from that role that he still comes around making alleged illegal decisions and supervises to get back to his wife who truly makes every and all decisions no matter who has what title.

NTNE spoke with a former nurse under the condition of anonymity but was eager to speak about seeing the way the Doctor would bill MassHealth even if she did not see the patient for medical purposes. Some residents would allegedly ask to speak to her about complaints about staff or living arrangements at the sober houses next door or just advice on certain things she will tell the residents to go and register with the nurse first even if it was a one minute conversation she would bill like it was a normal appointment. No wonder she allegedly just purchased a million dollar home in Quincy MA. The former nurse quotes, “ there were many things I witnessed that were not right.”

NewsTalk New England has also learned through a confidential source that there is a group of former staff and residents and even active staff and residents that work and attend the program who have formed a group to unmask the Doctors. This group which gets together frequently has filed complaints and grievances where investigations are allegedly in the works.

We spoke to a City Hall employee who said she is not surprised Doctor Castiel is being questioned for such conduct in fact she mentioned that the Doctor had been in some hot water with her bosses about misconduct with the use of her emails.

Another Health and Human Services (HHS) employee that still works for the Doctor who didn’t mind speaking to us because she sees her boss leaving soon as she has mentioned regularly to her employees. This City staff member also is quoted as saying “You should see the way she speaks about other authority figures in the city. She literally hates the Sheriff from the Jail Evangelidis, she has something against Juan Gomez from Centro Las Americas and boy dont get me started with what she has said about acting City Manager Eric Batista and District Attorney Joseph Early. I don’t understand why she talks about her colleagues in these matters especially because some are Latinos like her and one, is even her boss. The only person I have ever seen her talk good about and she likes alot is Tim Garvin of United Way.”

Talking about staff from City Hall there are a few employees that work for her in HHS and she allegedly also has them on the payroll at The Hector Reyes House in high ranking positions.

One former Director of the program who is part of the Pro-LAHA group questioned how is it possible to put away a million dollars on a personal account from a Non-Profit organizations bank account.

As this Investigative reporter looked further into these allegations I uncovered conflicts of interest between spouses and residents working in the same program and even board members with spouses in the same work place. Recovery coaches working at HHS and Hector Reyes House who have relapsed multiple times and within a span of thirty days coming back to work for the City and counseling patients when not completely in recovery themselves.

I uncovered that the recently appointed Director Of Operations and Program Director mishandled the two recent overdose deaths. Their families will allegedly be looking for legal advice and will be seeking more answers into their significant others unfortunate mishap.

Cafe Reyes, which once was a popular Cuban eatery, has gone from bad to worse in the span of three months. Staff like Wilmer Rivera who allegedly has verbally assaulted and disrespected women at the restaurant have not been disciplined for his actions even after Doctor Castiel received multiple complaints about this individual.

We have learned that Manager Esteban Bueno with an open fire arms charge and on probation is still allowed to work with these individuals in recovery which is a violation of state protocols. This same individual sells bootleg merchandise to cafe staff and Hector Reyes residents. Many complains of these actions have been brought to the Doctor to no avail.

The latest restaurant manager who quit and walked out just within the last couple of weeks could not hold back on how emotional he was about how the administration was mishandeling a recent half a million dollar grant given for the restaurant where money that needed to be used immediately was used to purchase electronics and appliances that are stored in the restaurant’s basement and at Doctor Castiel’s Holden home garage which this former staff member says “They were looking to sell and retrieve that money instead of using it for the restaurant.”

This organization has allegedly gone through seven Program Directors in three years.

NTNE was wondering if it was the employers or the employees.

This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we will post updates on our Twitter Facebook.

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