The owner of the southwest Missouri group home for the mentally ill destroyed in a fatal fire last week says he has nothing to hide, despite questions about his role in the facility and what started the blaze.
In what he said was his first interview since the fire at the Anderson Guest House that killed 10 people, including nine residents and one employee, Robert J. DuPont, who owns the land and building that burned, discussed his background and the blaze with the Springfield News-Leader.
Questions have arisen about DuPont’s role in the Anderson home because he was convicted in 2003 for his part in a scheme to bilk Medicare. Under state law, a convicted felon in a crime involving a health care facility is not allowed to be an “operator” or “principal” in a Missouri long-term care facility.
A few years ago, DuPont formed the nonprofit Joplin-based River of Life Ministries, which ran the Anderson home and three others like it in southwest Missouri. The group currently lists DuPont’s wife, LaVerne, as a board director.
Robert DuPont has not responded to repeated telephone calls from The Associated Press to his home and office seeking comment. He told the News-Leader he has avoided the media because he did not want to talk about his past.