A lawsuit against a local chain of retirement homes alleges that Holiday Retirement Inc. bilked veterans and their widows, promising to help secure benefits to pay for their care—and then leaving them without their life savings when the money never came through.

The suit, filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, says that representatives from Holiday's Portland-area retirement homes—including Parkrose Chateau, Vineyard Place and Rock Creek Retirement Residence—approached retired veterans and their widows, promising they "would receive benefits from the (Veterans Affairs) within a short period of time and in an amount that would substantially offset the rents charged by Holiday," the suit says. But months after moving in, the suit says clients were never granted benefits.

"Our clients, all elderly veterans and widows of veterans in their 70s and 80s would never have moved into this expensive housing without Holiday's misrepresentations," Andrea Ogston, the Legal Aid Services of Oregon attorney representing the alleged victims, tells WW.

One plaintiff, Korean War veteran Richard Dickinson, says in the suit that Parkrose Chateau, located on 3141 NE 148th St. in Portland, told him part of his rent would be deferred until his benefit papers were properly filed. Five months later, he was given a bill for $13,218. Three months after that, he was given an additional bill for $16,506, which the suit says drained most of his savings.

Plaintiffs also include a veteran of the Vietnam War and two widows of veterans from World War II and the Korean War. Eighty-year-old Thelma Cramer says she is still waiting for her promised benefits to kick in, and was told she owes a total of $23,144. in deferred rent going back to the beginning of her stay in October 2011 at Rock Creek Retirement Residence, on 19295 NW Cornell St. in Hillsboro. Others say they've taken out loans or are unable to meet their retirement homes' asking price.

"Based on Holiday's actions, the plaintiffs now are subject to rent demands which they cannot afford and which continue to go up," Ogston says. "They have depleted what little savings they had, and have borrowed money from relatives to makes ends meet. They are emotionally and financially devastated."

The suit is asking for $3.6 million in damages. Holiday Retirement did not return multiple calls for comment.