CRE Mogul Allegedly Helped Wealthy Pals Jump Vaccination Line
MorseLife Health System has allegedly given COVID-19 vaccinations to friends of New York-based real estate moguls Bill and David Mack in a possible contravention of state and federal guidelines, The Washington Post reports.
The nursing home and assisted-living facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, reportedly also vaccinated members of the group who belong to the exclusive Palm Beach Country Club, as well as donors to the nonprofit.
A spokesman for the Mack brothers told The Associated Press that they were helping MorseLife in its efforts to distribute the vaccine and did nothing wrong. MorseLife and the public agency Florida Health didn't respond to requests for comment from Bisnow on Wednesday.
The shots were reportedly administered at the Joseph L. Morse Health Center in Palm Beach, the Post reports. David Mack is a member of a number of MorseLife boards and chairman of the country club foundation's board.
"Foundation chairman David S. Mack, a New Jersey-based real estate developer, is also a board member at multiple MorseLife affiliates. MorseLife Health System’s street address is named after him," the Post reports. "In a statement, a spokesman for Mack and his brother Bill, also a real estate mogul, said they had 'assisted' MorseLife with its vaccination campaign."
The effort is a stark contrast to the difficulties many people are having getting vaccinated in Florida. In theory, everyone over 65 is eligible for vaccination, or more than 4 million people, which is just over 20% of the total population. But the vaccination rollout has been chaotic in the state, with phone systems for scheduling appointments constantly busy and the website devoted to the program crashing.
In some counties, older residents have been forced to camp out overnight to get inoculated, or have been turned away. The MorseLife event reportedly did not face similar difficulties.
“Some people flew down in private jets from New York just for the vaccine, if they were lucky enough to be on the list the brothers made," Page Six reported, citing an anonymous source. It isn't clear how many nonresidents received shots at the nursing home, or their exact association with MorseLife or the Palm Beach Country Club.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis said in an email to the AP that the governor “has been extremely clear that vaccine should only be administered to Florida’s seniors 65 and older, frontline health care workers, and long-term care facility residents and staff. We are investigating this situation and will hold any bad actors accountable."
CORRECTION, JAN. 8, 10 A.M. ET: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that David Mack is a director of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. The story has been updated.