State Acknowledges Oversight Gap after Fatal Fire at Group Home

DECEMBER 14, 2006 - Posted at 7:45 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State officials say bureaucratic problems may have caused them to miss red flags at a southwest Missouri group home that was destroyed in a fatal fire.

Regulators say they are still determining whether to revoke the licenses of Joplin River of Life Ministries, which operated the Anderson Guest House where ten people died in a fire in November.

The Anderson facility and others run by River of Life Ministries are owned by Robert and LaVerne DuPont.

Robert DuPont has said he was paid to help operate the business -- even though a conviction for Medicare fraud barred him from running long-term care facilities.

His name was not on license applications sent to the health department, and state inspectors did not provide their reports to the licensing staff that might have realized he was barred from operating the facility.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)