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Local News

October 5, 2012

County seeks Countryside debt in court

(Continued)

Thirty-four residents remain at Countryside, the Department of Health said by email Thursday.

The agency continues to work closely with the facility to ensure residents are relocated to the most appropriate level of care.

Potential buyers have made inquires about Countryside and will be thoroughly vetted by the agency.

Delhi Supervisor Peter Bracci said he did not know the timetable for any further legal action, but the decision allows the county to proceed with the litigation. Representatives from the county attorney’s office could not be reached by phone. The attorney handling the case for Leatherstocking did not return two phone messages. Officials with Leatherstocking have not returned numerous calls or emails including an email sent Thursday. The company’s voicemail was not accepting messages Thursday.

“These things take time,” Bracci said. He is the chairman of the county health committee. “I’m not expecting any immediate relief.” It’s an issue that the county has been working on for a number of years, he said. It held off until January because it did not want to endanger Leatherstocking’s ability to operate.

It the county had moved earlier and the operators decided to close the facility, “people might have speculated we caused it,” he said.

He is interested in finding what lead to the closure. “We don’t know,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors “agonized” over the decision to part with the facility. “Nobody wanted to sell it, but we couldn’t afford to keep it running,” he said. Leatherstocking was chosen by an “informed decision” that included a trip to see the company’s Herkimer facility.

“Nothing can justify what is happening” to the residents who are being moved to other facilities and the approximately 200 staff that will be out of a job, if the closure is completed, Bracci said.

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