The establishment of the Nursing Home for the Aged was supported and implemented with donations of real estate or funds by a number of people: The offspring of George Kassimatis (Basil, Gregory, Anthony and Helen), Leon. Megalokonomos, Klir. Manolatos, M. Kitsogiannopoulos, Sofia Aroni, Sp. Souris, Kal. Kastrisios, Sofia Sarigianni, G. kastrisios, Bros. Panaretos, Mar. Mauropoulos, Froso Karydi, Stam. Zantiotis, Mina Mylonopoulou and many others. The construction works in Potamos Kythera started in1967 on a site donated by Kassimatis. The two story building finished in 1975 and it started operating from the August of the same year, originally with 12 inmates.
History of George Sklavos Bequest
Our Kytherian compatriot George Sklavos, with his last will and testament of 12/7/1946, instructed his wife to transfer post-mortem to the Kytherian Brotherhood of Queensland the ½ undivided of his two consecutive real estate pieces Atlas and Star at the Queensland capital Brisbane (127 Adelaide Street), with the specific mandate to create a “Sanatorium” in Kythera with the proceeds of this real estate.
George Sklavos passed away in 1952 and the ½ undivided of the two consecutive buildings were indeed transferred to the Kytherian Brotherhood as Trustee for their management and the implementation of the Sklavos’ wish. This was the “Sklavos Bequest”. The relatives of the late George Sklavos challenged at the Australian court Sklavos’ last will requesting the repeal of the bequest, going as far as the Supreme Court of Australia in Sydney. The Australian Justice rejected the appeal of Sklavos relatives and saved the bequest in favour of Kythera. Since then, many years passed inactive, without The Kytherian Brotherhood proceeding to the execution of Sklavos’ will. Meanwhile, with the complete combating of tuberculosis, there was no more a need for a Sanatorium and neither for a hospital since already existed one.
By the end of the 1960’s, presidents and Board of Directors members of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Queensland agreed to support the existing Nursing Home for the aged in Kythera, making available out of the income from the Sklavos’ bequest the cost for the construction of a bedridden ward. The construction was indeed started, but the Brotherhood, after sending a small initial amount, stopped financing the works. The ward was finished up with the generous offer of 15,000,000 drachmas by the late Theodore Souris, as well as the finance by the Trifylleion Foundation. In the meantime, the then President of the Trifylleion Foundation Professor George Kassimatis jointly with the Secretary General, the late Dimitrios Komis, made continuous efforts, even with the President travelling to Brisbane, requesting from the administration of the Brotherhood to continue the financial support of the Nursing Home. The late Gregory kassimatis made also tireless efforts especially travelling to Brisbane. Furthermore, a friend of Gregory Kassimatis, George Hatziplis of Sydney who was married to a Kytherian lady and a passionate Philo-Kytherian was also involved with a great zeal.
All these efforts were fruitless, bumping into the persistent refusal of the Brotherhood administration. The Trifylleion Foundation could not afford at that time to take any legal action in the Australian courts. Mr. Hatziplis then stepped in and guaranteed with 100,000 dollars the hire of one of the largest Australian law firm to proceed to the court for issuing a decision ordering that the income from the Sklavos’ Bequest be sent to the Nursing Home in Kythera.
The trial took place at Brisbane in 1973 with the personal appearance as a witness of the president of the Trifylleion Foundation George Kassimatis. With the very well prepared presentation for the trial, the Foundation managed to persuade the court that the fulfillment of the testator's will for a “Sanatorium” in Kythera is infeasible, since this kind of care is not any more necessary, neither is a hospital needed, considering that the State Trifylleion Hospital already existed. The court was also convinced for the following issues: the care of the aged was needed for the island; the bedridden ward, already built by the Foundation, has all the modern international standards; and the Trifylleion Foundation due to its charity mission is a high reliability Institution.
Subsequently, the court, after making an additional checking of the Brotherhood’s records and found maladministration, removed the “trustee’ status from the Brotherhood and assigned it to the Trifylleion Foundation, with the order that the proceeds from the Sklavos’ Bequest be allocated to the Nursing Home in Kythera. The court also asked the president of the Foundation George Kassimatis whether the Foundation would wish the continuance of the proceedings and the criminal conviction of the Brotherhood administration for mismanagement (note that no old incomes were found). The response from George Kassimatis was negative.
The problems however never ended. The co-owner of the other ½ of the property and ex-Secretary of the Brotherhood Mr. Patty consistently refused the repair of the buildings, which were already old, resulting in the tenants abandoning it and therefore generating no income. Mr. Hatziplis then offered once more his help. With a proxy by the Board of Directors of the Trifylleion Foundation (President the late Professor John Stratigos) requested from the Australian court to put in auction the whole building on grounds of the harmful attitude of the co-owner towards the building. The petition was approved and the auction took place on 30.9.1999. Representing the Trifylleion Foundation, Mr. Hatziplis was present at the auction, and taking by surprise the other interested parties, offered the first and in fact last bid, purchasing thus the whole building on behalf of the Trifylleion Foundation at the very low price of 1,225,000 Australian dollars.
Subsequently, Mr. Hatziplis proceeded under his personal supervision in the joining together of the two separate buildings and after a complete renovation of the new unit, leased it on behalf of the Trifylleion Foundation. As a result of all this, the whole George Sklavos building passed in the full and complete ownership of the Trifylleion Foundation of Kytherians. Its management has been entrusted to a private management agent under the control of an office of Chartered Auditors in Brisbane, in collaboration with the Office of Chartered Auditors in Athens of our compatriot George Kassimatis (Drymoniatis) who is in charge of auditing the Trifylleion Foundation. Mr. Hatziplis was appointed by the court as the “trustee” of the Sklavos Bequest that, after the purchase of the whole building by the Trifylleion Foundation, consists of the amount of 650,000 Australian dollars, equal to the purchase price of ½ of the whole Sklavos building. Currently, an effort is made by the representatives of the Trifylleion Foundation in Australia to obtain an income tax exemption.