A pair of Juneau attorneys have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Mike Dunleavy for what they described as “astronomical and untenable” monthly increases — as high as 140% — for residents of Alaska Pioneer Homes and Alaska Veteran Homes.

Vance Sanders and Libby Bakalar are asking the courts to prohibit Dunleavy and members of his administration from enforcing rate increases, plus compensation and legal costs associated with the lawsuit.

They have also listed Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum and Alaska Pioneer Homes Director Clinton Lasley.

Vance and Bakalar are acting on behalf of a Juneau couple and a woman from Ketchikan where the attorneys filed the suit. The attorneys also want the courts to certify the suit as class action, which would add nearly 500 more Alaskans who live in these homes statewide.

In their filing Monday, they asserted these aged or infirm residents are being treated unfairly with rates ranging between 40-140%.

“Pioneers’ Home residents relied on the rates under which they signed their contracts and reasonable annual rate increases when they sought admission to the Homes. They did not reasonably expect their rates to increase so astronomically in a single month, thereby depriving them of time and ability to make family budgeting plans, possible relocation and similar important decisions.”

The suit also alleges Dunleavy “has created a manufactured crisis for Alaska’s seniors that could easily have been avoided through a well-publicized, gradual rate increase.”

The Alaska Department of Law did not respond to queries seeking comment.

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