Opponents of privatizing the local government-owned nursing and assisted living centers say they have launched a legal challenge against Frederick County for its decision to sell the facilities.

A copy of the petition for judicial review shows it was filed Tuesday in Circuit Court by five Frederick County residents. One lives at the assisted living center. The one-paragraph document did not lay out the petitioners’ reasons for taking legal action, but their attorney provided additional context in a letter to state officials.

In the correspondence to the Maryland Board of Public Works, the attorney raised several issues about the June 25 public hearing where commissioners voted 4-1 to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living.

“The evidence at the hearing was contrary to the BOCC’s blanket assertion that the property was no longer needed for any public use,” Leslie Powell wrote in the July 23 letter. “Particularly troubling to the public was the fact that the BOCC members had already made up their minds and stated their intended vote prior to the hearing.”

The letter and the legal action came on the eve of a state public works board discussion about the $30 million purchase agreement between the county and Aurora Health Management.

The board, made up of the Maryland governor, comptroller and treasurer, decided Wednesday to delay a vote on whether to approve the sale. The state must sign off on the transaction because it provided $200,000 in grant funds for constructing a new building for the two centers.

Donald Linton and Sonja Sperlich, both of whom are petitioners in the court case, asked the public works board to delay their decision until pending legal matters are resolved. They argued that the sale wasn’t a good deal for county taxpayers and eliminates a safety net for struggling seniors, who can currently apply to receive government-subsidized care at Montevue.

Though the county manager and attorney and Commissioners President Blaine Young all appeared Wednesday in Annapolis to press for approval of the sale, Maryland Treasurer Nancy Kopp said she first wants assurance that the state won’t find itself embroiled in legal complications.

Kopp said she’s not sure the issues raised by the petitioners fall within the scope of the board’s review.

“I would like to hear that personally from our attorneys,” she said.

Young said time is of the essence since the county is losing $500,000 each month on the facilities.

The county is even ready and willing to repay the $200,000 in state grant funds, Young said.

Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot voted to defer the decision, while Gov. Martin O’Malley opposed the delay. After the board gets legal advice, O’Malley said members can hold a special meeting to expedite their vote on the sale.

In addition to Linton and Sperlich, former chairwoman of the Citizens board of trustees, the other three petitioners are Joseph Berman, Lawrence Watson and Charles Trunk III. Berman served as a trustee before the board was disbanded by commissioners June 25, and Watson lives at Montevue.

On Wednesday, county attorney John Mathias said his office still had not received the legal documents.

Young said he’s a little frustrated that the court filing came “at the eleventh hour” and surmised that it was a stalling tactic by opponents of the sale.

However, he said he is confident the commissioners’ decision to sell the facilities will weather a legal challenge.

Aurora will begin operating the centers Aug. 1, taking over from previous management contractors, LW Consulting.

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.

(49) comments

dbjanda1

Blaine said he'd sell his cab co. if they came up with enough cash after conferring with his partner...Too bad he didn't have that same concern when selling the nursing homes and taxpayers money...It's easy to make dumb decisions with other people's money but smart decisions when your own money's involved...Taxpayers don't forget...Me

president8444

Watson4sherlock. Western Md hospital center IS STATE owned not hagerstown or their county so we all pay,not like frederick county where ony Frederickcounty residents pay, a hugh difference we pay for the Western too.Lucylucy all others are state too you write watson,no compairison.Sell it to the state ok with me.State government owned watson you forgot or did you.

watson4sherlock

Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is located at 201 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg, PA.

We are a Skilled care facility with 186 beds. Our rooms are 4-bed semi-private and 2-bed semi-private accomodations. We have a secure Dementia Unit.

We have been owned and operated by Franklin County since 1808.

See http://www.franklincountypa.gov/Pages/FallingSprings.aspx

eddiemac99

Fine, but I specifically was talking about MARYLAND

president8444

Lucy lucy blaine cooking the books is a lie again.

watson4sherlock

Young said time is of the essence since the county is losing $500,000 each month on the facilities.

But it's going to cost $6 million to convert the public assets to private use; gee that's like $500,000 each month. Did they quit billing medicaid and medicare so Aurora will have a bigger nest egg after they take over?

darththevader

Convert public assets?? Is that your way of saying "selling"?

watson4sherlock

You are a funny one. You have problem with the word convert but not the $6 million it's going to cost to do it.

darththevader

Do you choose to ignore the cost if not doing it?

watson4sherlock

Which is what? No one really knows because the healthcare facility was being managed by a consulting firm.

watson4sherlock

Aurora would agree to provide at least four years of care for the Montevue residents who currently rely on county subsidies. In exchange, the county would pay Aurora $10.7 million over the four years, the county manager said.

See http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/article_95c49a65-52ce-5904-abe7-c5d902a2ead1.html

watson4sherlock

Net Due from Aurora at Closing..........................$29,666,757
Escrow Requirements - estimated 5/14/13..........(35,259,977)
Closing Costs of Bond Redemption/Sale..................(250,114)
..............................................................................----------------
Cash Shortfall.........................................................(5,843,334)

See http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/fredericknewspost.com/ content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/23/b239f6a6-cfb3-11e2-94c4-0019bb30f31a/51b2481603783.pdf.pdf

elymus43

The taxpayers already are spending money the Animal Shelter, but people whine about spending money to keep Montevue and Citizens. People think more about animals than they do about people.

darththevader

There are no private departments of animal control. There are private senior facilities (all of of them)

watson4sherlock

Private animal control facilities exist all over the country. Why wouldn't Frederick County be the first?

watson4sherlock

The Montgomery County Humane Society has enjoyed a long working relationship with Montgomery County government in operating the current animal shelter. The opening of the county’s new Animal Services and Adoption Center serves as an important juncture for MCHS.

See http://www.mchumane.org/

watson4sherlock

Too late Montgomery County beat you to it.

watson4sherlock

Aurora will begin operating the centers Aug. 1, taking over from previous management contractors, LW Consulting.

Maybe that's all it will take and there doesn't need to be a sale. Finding competent management should have happened long ago.

jerseygrl42

our super hero blaine young is now ready to pony up $200,000 of taxpayer money in order to take care of his buddies at aurora...how disgusting can one person be

valerie_dale

It is my understanding that Commissioner Young offered $300,000 if the BPW would approve the sale. They did not, however.

watson4sherlock

Doesn't mean they won't. The article says they just want to talk to their attorney and make sure it doesn't turn into a big problem for them.

robert jay

PUT it to a vote let the people of Frederick county & Frederick city decide. case settled

bnace42

Hey eddiemac99. Please do some homework on Montevue, etc. Maybe you can learn about land given to the county, the reason why, and the stiputations attached (which have probably already been violated by construction of the wrong type of county stuff across the street on the land of the original Montevue Home. I really think Blame and gang are definitely in the (maybe even legal) wrong on this supposed sale.

darththevader

Lucy, I can't speak for the /Blaine part of your comments but for the Darththevader/ half I can certainly say you are clueless

watson4sherlock

Oh my gosh, you go girl!

eddiemac99

I am not a fan of these commissioners, but can someone please explain to me in what universe a county should be operating a nursing facility. Does any other county in Maryland do this? If not, then why does Frederick? Baltimore City used to run a hospital. It was a money pit and the quality of service left much to be desired. It was sold to Hopkins. Now, Bayview is a well run community hospital. I don't live in Frederick County and I don't know if this particular deal is a good one. I simply know that government tends to do some things well -- put out fires, plow streets, catch bad guys -- but running health care facilities really isn't one of them. Of course, the powers that be in Frederick also think a fire tax is smart (though apparently not a storm water tax). Using that logic there also should be a law enforcement tax, a school tax, a snow plowing tax, a rec and parks tax ... why bother to have a general fund?

kjswartz

You asked a very good question. The county isn't starting a nursing home, it was maintaining a tradition that lasted 160/140 years and 8/7 generations. The property is a heritage that is being sold off, and some of us is very upset about the high handed way this matter was handled.

8 generations of Republican controlled BoCC funded this service

8 generations of Frederick County citizens were taxed to fund this service

All that is to be summarily erased because of a philosophy, with no polling of the citizen's wishes.

Basically, in a nutshell, future generations won't blame the BoCC about this travesty, they will blame the citizens. We just want to make a large enough noise to clearly state that was not the case.

darththevader

Maintaining a tradition? That the legal grounds for not selling it?

watson4sherlock

The legal grounds for not selling it is that it was a service to the people and government is in the business of providing services to the people not turning a profit for profits sake.

There is no legal requirement for the county to build and maintain roads or pickup the trash either.

eddiemac99

The tradition of Baltimore City owning a hospital went back many generations, too. Just cause something has been done for generations doesn't mean its the right thing to do.

watson4sherlock

Services in Wicomico County, Maryland

NURSING HOME 410-742-8896

See http://www.wicomicocounty.org/services.asp#N

eddiemac99

You have me on this one. Didn't know about that.

watson4sherlock

Western Md Hospital Center in Hagerstown, Maryland is a government owned nursing home that accepts Medicare and Medicaid, and is located inside of a hospital.

See http://nursing-homes.findthebest.com/l/5796/Western-Md-Hospital-Center

eddiemac99

WRONG!!! Run by the state like many other mental health facilities.

watson4sherlock

Falling Spring Nursing and Reh in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania is a government owned nursing home that accepts Medicare and Medicaid.

See http://nursing-homes.findthebest.com/l/11706/Falling-Spring-Nursing-and-Reh

watson4sherlock

Birmingham Green in Manassas, Virginia is a government owned nursing home that accepts Medicare and Medicaid.

See http://nursing-homes.findthebest.com/l/15686/Birmingham-Green

eddiemac99

A. It's in PA or VA. B. Is it run by and county/city, or is it run by the state. I didn't say government, I said LOCAL government.

LucyLucy

DarththeVader/Blaine..I was just thinking that perhaps now would be the best time to just resign, you know before any more information concerning your Shameful behaviors come to light, because I am sure as you know there are many Shameful things you have done and are still doing that will be coming out over the next few months, so to save your family anymore embarrassment I would highly recommend resigning NOW...thanks

Shame the Blaine Campaign FB page more to come.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shame-the-Blaine-Campaign/489681077776883

rbtdt5

Why are you waiting months before you share all of you secret information?

magnumrn2

Bravo to the folks filing the lawsuit. I hope they win the case! Jean

LucyLucy

Young said time is of the essence since the county is losing $500,000 each month on the facilities....Which is a LIE, if Blaine had allowed the board to continue on the homes would of become self-sufficient, the county is not losing $500,000 each month, Blaine is just cooking the books to make it look that way.

Even after the sale we the TAXPAYERS will still be losing money, because of how the "Deal" was crafted, and we the TAXPAYERS will have to still pay for years to come for Aurora's screw-ups because they are a private company that is not accountable to the public. So for Blaine to whine we are losing $500,000 a year is like him vandalizing his own property..all for show and to play the poor me victim.

Really Blaine/Darththevader, you have to realize that there are people who are not afraid to stand-up to you and Blaine my dear boy you don't always get what you want...Being a spoiled brat has to end sometime.

For the latest breaking new on Blaine and to read about his shame behavior, please stay-tuned the Shame the Blaine Campaign FB page..which also has the master boycott list on.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shame-the-Blaine-Campaign/489681077776883

kjswartz

I thought business done properly meant paying a penalty fee plus interest. It isn't just going to be $200,000 - there's interest, and there's a penalty just like the $3,000,000 penalty fee this BoCC foisted on Carroll County citizens. Who would have guessed the cost was just going to skyrocket?

cellmark

So, am I to understand that the admin knew how much more we chanced to pay? they were fully aware of the potential of law suits? And we still got a idotic 100.00 property tax check back which would have eliminated all the debt.
This is pretty stupid.,pretty stupid.

patrick

“Particularly troubling to the public was the fact that the BOCC members had already made up their minds and stated their intended vote prior to the hearing.”

February, 2013...

Blaine Young - "I've got the deal in the bag".

fmyers628

Patrick, this is off topic, but I think you should let the public know what company was taking cash from Blaine and his campaign fund, and issuing you a check, which was for the work you did for Blaine's campaign. This sounds pretty bad to me. Perhaps the IRS should be informed too.

This company should definitely be on the boycott list.

patrick

fmyers628 : Totally on topic. The top quote is from the column above

The second quote is from me ... something Blaine said directly to me ... provided as support to the assertion / allegation of the first quote.

Another quote from Blaine, during that same meeting, "I've got the deal in hand".

patrick

Correction on that last quote ... after looking at my notes from the meeting.

Blaine, "I have a deal in hand Prince George's County".

This quote, along with "I've got the deal in the bag", were made by Blaine during a February 2013 between the two of us at his Yellow Cab office.

patrick

The money was diverted from Blaine Young's political "exploratory committee" account to Engage LLC (www.engagedirectmail.com). Dennis Hoffman is the guy in charge over there ... I never met him.

I would show up each Tuesday afternoon .. knock on the door ... wait for the secretary to hand me an envelope with my name on it.

No invoicing, no task orders, no work product. Engage was simply a pass-through of funds for the purposes of conducting political activities.

fmyers628

Patrick, depending on how their accountant recorded the transactions, they could be cheating the IRS and state out of tax money. I am sure they claimed the money they paid to you as a tax deduction, since they issued you a 1099, but did they claim the cash received from Blaine as income somewhere in their accounting records. Why would a reputable business person allow money to pass through their company like this? Something stinks about this. In my mind, it is not as simple as a pass-through of funds like you say. More like someone cooking the books for the purpose of conducting political activities. Again, I hope you let the IRS know about this, and also the Comptroller of the Treasury for the state of Maryland.

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