The Maryland Board of Public Works this week sent a letter chiding Frederick County for partially privatizing its assisted living and nursing home without the state's consent.

The state is weighing in on the sale because of a $200,000 state grant for construction of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living, facilities that the county has owned and operated in the past. The June 10 letter from the public works board stressed that the county must receive permission from state officials before transferring or disposing of the centers.

The county's recent decision to complete the first part of the sale "constitutes a disposition of the grant-funded property," according to the letter.

"You are acutely aware that the Board of Public Works has not consented to any disposition of the grant-funded property," states the letter signed by BPW executive secretary Sheila McDonald. "To repeat my conclusion in my earlier letter, the Board of Public Works clearly expects the county to adhere to its obligations under the grant agreement."

On May 1, the county handed over operations at the two facilities to a for-profit company, Aurora Holdings VII. Aurora took ownership of the finances at Citizens and Montevue, and the county staff at the centers became employees of the company.

Though the county still owns the building and the land for the facilities, county officials are leasing the property to Aurora. After legal issues involved in the sale are resolved, county officials hope to sell the land and building to the company for $30 million. An asset purchase agreement signed in May between the county and Aurora lays out the multipart sale. 

Though it is unclear what power the public works board could exercise over the situation, opponents of the sale said the letter shows the county breached its grant agreement with the state.

"It's pretty clear that we've violated the rules under which we got the grant," said Commissioner David Gray, who has voted against selling the facilities. "If there's any way we can roll this thing back, I think we should do it instead of being bullheaded."

Jan Gardner, a former commissioner and Democratic candidate for county executive, said she thinks the asset purchase agreement could be "null and void" in view of the issues raised by the state's correspondence.

At least, sale opponents said, the letter could bolster their legal arguments against privatizing the centers. An updated version of a lawsuit filed by sale opponents argues that the operational transfer to Aurora in May violated a court order and the county's grant agreement with the state.

Commissioners President Blaine Young said he doesn't think the state can derail the sale and can only ask for a return of the $200,000 grant. The county has already tried to give back the funds, but the public works board declined to accept the money last year. Instead, the board, made up of the state governor, comptroller and treasurer, postponed its decision on the sale until the legal issues surrounding the transfer are resolved.

Gregory Bedward, general counsel for the public works board, declined to elaborate on the state's options for reacting to the recent changeover at Citizens and Montevue. He said the public works board is waiting for the county's response to its letter.

Though Young doesn't think the state can prevent privatization of the centers, he said he would invite the state to take the facilities off the county's hands.

"They can have it. They can take over the nursing home," Young said. "But they can't force the county to run something."

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP. 

(29) comments


Though Young doesn't think the state can prevent privatization of the centers, he said he would invite the state to take the facilities off the county's hands.
They can have it. They can take over the nursing home," Young said. "But they can't force the county to run something.

Blaine, but the citizens of this county have told you to continue with this also, and you ignored the voters. So now it will come down to June 24th, when you, Kirby, Billy, and Paul are gone.




So far , none of the bussiness attractions have worked, What we have more of tho is developers hireing cheaper labor and getting away with things.
Like the new development in Brunswick , I believe it is called Brunswick crossing. Which ,, originaly they were required by county law to include items such as senior housing.
Which now, has been eliminated in that development. there is not enough profit in it for them.
So far, we are now 3 times more in debt with Citizens than we were before, and we have over 240 unemployed countie workers due to "outsourcing jobs" which all apear to have gone to Out of State companies.?

The lady at church today was saying none of the computers work as well as they did in the county, Airconditioning devices are requireing more attention [ which drives up the costs]
And a slow down of countie services is happening

I would think this is not a good thing? am i wrong.? i have no idea, this is all stuff I heard.

Comment deleted.



I am very impressed by Immamiller (sp?) arguments below. He's correct, yet in that dysfunctional, half step off the path kind of way. It's easy to agree; difficult to argue with him.

So, let's try.

1) You can never return funds to the state without a proper refund process. There was a public meeting at the DPW - their lawyers want the current litigation of Montevue and Citizens to continue WITHOUT state interference on either side.

2) One of the most critical functions of local government is to protect the local traditions and legacies. You conveniently missed that one. There have been lawsuits brought against communities that were intercepted by the local government in the name of protecting traditions. Our own copy of The Ten Commandments was such a situation. Preventing the sale of the Monacacy Battlefields to Walt Disney for "An American Experience" theme park was another.

Frederick County is ripe with legacies, whose costs are paid by the taxpayers and help bolster our tourism industry. We pay $$$s to build and operate the Visitor's Center, and maintain the various markers and buildings for public access and enjoyment.

Citizens Nursing Home falls into the category of a local legacy. Both Montevue and Citizens were under the control of a local Board of Directors and operated with distinction. They achieved top honors in their fields, which WAS a great pride of Frederick County.

There is a right way to convert legacies into private enterprises.
Blaime Young violated every single one of them.


I wish there was a way we could hold the responsible parties for this mess financilay repsonsible.
As it is now, we [ Frederick County] is in worse shape financialy than before.
Auroa has bankrupt the inventories, shut down some of the rooms, and is sweating it out to keep the staft that has not quit.
The county left such a bad image to the employees alot of them simply walked.
In health care,, that is consisered criminal.


Sorry Newthinking - the page jumped when I reported the spammer's plea for bucks. Here's your comments:

"'I wish there was a way we could hold the responsible parties for this mess financially responsible.

As it is now, we [ Frederick County] is in worse shape financially than before.

Aurora has bankrupt the inventories, shut down some of the rooms, and is sweating it out to keep the staft that has not quit.

The county left such a bad image to the employees alot of them simply walked.
In health care, that is considered criminal"'


I can't wait to see Blaine Young behind bars.


Right, the State has the last word and the County must always toe the line.


It would have been nice if this article would have included the section of the grant contract that supposedly has been breached.


Imamiller613---Paying the $200 back has already been tried twice...Once Blaine went to Annapolis and spoke in front of the board with check in hand and came back to Frederick with undelivered money...Second time he sent the check to Annapolis figuring once the state cashed the check the sale could go thru...Check was returned uncashed and Blaine with mud on his face, again...Me


Just another example of the total dysfunction that rules our government. Get grant to help fund something, it comes with Byzantine and complex regulations that are problematic, you try to do the right thing and give the money back and the government says "you can't do that". Really?


Imamiller I think you have the quaint notion that government should be run like a business. One of the purposes of government is to protect all citizens from the tendancy of businesses to value profit over people.


Speaking of quaint.......


GMrT, and I believe you are possessed of the notion that a) businesses exist for some other purpose other than to provide goods and services, and make a profit in the process of doing so (otherwise, they, um, go out of business); b) that businesses making a profit is a bad thing (see "a"); and c) government exists to be the answer to everyone's problems. Wrong on all counts.

And, no, I do not believe that government should be run like a business, for the express purposes to make a profit on the services they provide. Government exists to ensure an orderly society, and to provide basic (emphasis on basic) services to the citizens of the jurisdiction. Things such as: adequate roads; water, sewer, sanitation; public education for children (although that takes us down a whole other road/discussion); public safety (police/fire/rescue). Governments are funded through taxes paid by the citizens, to provide those services. At the end of the day, the government should either "break even", or have a small surplus (5% of the annual budget at most) for emergencies / contingencies that arise (an extremely snowy winter, or for emergency repairs to water/sewer lines). Running a nursing home, especially in today's economy and insane health care cost system, is not something a taxpayer funded government entity should be doing.



Just out of curiosity, if there is not enough charitable giving to house the elderly poor who cannot care for themselves, what should happen? Should the government step in, should they be left to die in the street, or some other third option that nobody has mentioned?


Write the State of Maryland a check for the $200K and tell them to take their grant and stick it. That will be far cheaper than spending millions subsidizing what should be a private health care facility.

The notion that a local government (and by extension, it's taxpaying citizens) would foot the bill for this type of care is a quaint, antiquated notion from the days when people thought the government could solve all our problems, and the cost of healthcare had not gone through the roof and increasing exponentially by the day.

Sell the place, with the strict condition that those who are currently there cannot be evicted and get care for the remainder of their lives at the current rate. Any new people coming in, it's just like getting into any other private nursing home. Give the State back their grant and tell them to butt out.


Blaine's acting like he's governor... He needs to remember he never was in the governor's race just a phony campaign fundraising machine...He was never in it to win it, the phony part never left...Now he's trying to cover his butt over the nursing home sale where he denied any other commissioner on the NEW lease contract... Is he arrogant, stupid or both by not allowing the county not fully represented when people's tax dollars are involved ???...Who does he think as a public official he works for ???...Why vote for someone that only represents himself, a phony ???...Me




U gotta think things through before you take action. The world doesn't revolve around U, and yes, the state does have more power than U. In fact, U are about to find out that the citizens have more power than U as well.


Mburns, well there you have your answer: we all "potentially benefit" from helping those unable to fend for themselves.


Jan gardner admitted in her previous time on the BOCC that these facilities lost at LEAST $20 MILLION DOLLARS, the then thought it a good idea to spend another $36 MILLION DOLLARS to build new ones, because surely they will make money if we keep funnelling money into it, THAT Didn't work and yet some people think it's a good idea to keep this. Greece here we come, we're on our way....

If we are going to spend our tax dollars on programs it should be for programs where everyone can benefit, or "potentially benefit".


The Young/Smith Board didn't obtain a legitimate valuation on the properties on either an asset basis or future discounted cash-flow basis. Instead, in a sole-source contract, the Board allowed Marcus & Millichap to look for the fast cash. M&M posted a minimum bid price of $27.5 Million, while advertising the new facilities' construction cost of $38 Million.

This 30% off sales price immediately signaled the market that this was a distressed property, bringing out the bottom feeders and turn-around specialists, like Aurora. M&M's marketers also boasted that the investor demand for similar facilities was on fire, with annual sales price increases of 20%.

Still, Young signed a deal which both undervalued the real estate and provided a continuing subsidy of $10.7 Million, free land (approximate value of $6 M - $7 Million), and free parking ($270,000 in construction costs). In total, the package is worth at least $55 Million but Young is selling out at the distressed asset price of $30 Million, costing the taxpayers some $25 Million in losses.

At the same time, the Young/Smith Board has provided County loans to privately owned assisted living/retirement home operators Buckingham's Choice ($21.5 Million), and Homewood Retirement Centers, Inc., ($90 Million).


Big Pentagon language for us uneducatd....[wink]


"Commissioners President Blaine Young said he doesn't think the state can derail the sale and can only ask for a return of the $200,000 grant."

Really, Blaine? Really?


Blaine simply thinks the rules don't apply to him. He does not care about the citizens of Frederick County, the history of Frederick County or the future of Frederick County. He has been called out by the state Board of Public Works and as usual, he gives a snarky response. Bet his friends at Aurora are not please to know that Blaine would sell them out too!






Nothing like spending Father's Day in prison with jack Johnson.....

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