The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Local News

January 23, 2014

Manor bidder: Utica home still lacks state's approval

(Continued)

A Health Department spokesman, James O’Hare, confirmed that the agency is anticipating that Focus will be sending in the application.

Questions surrounding the Focus management of the Utica home have shot into the forefront in recent days after The Daily Star reported that three members of the local development corporation charged with selling the Manor are leaning toward a rival bidder it is offering $3.5 million less than the $18.5 million Focus has said it is willing to pay for the county nursing home.

One of those backing VestraCare, which owns a nursing home in Johnson City, is William Dornburgh, a retired banker from Cooperstown. He has questioned whether Focus has the financial stability to run the 174-bed Manor in a way that does not reduce the quality of care to its residents.

Dornburgh said Wednesday he spoke to Zupnik on the telephone for 46 minutes on Tuesday night and continues to have concerns. He declined to elaborate on his specific concerns, saying the balance sheets and other data offered by the bidders is being kept confidential.

Dornburgh said he has also asked Otsego County Treasurer Dan Crowell to provide guidance to the seven-member local development corporation. The organization was created by the Board of Representatives last year for the sole purpose of marketing and selling the Manor.

The county board did not appoint Crowell, the county’s top fiscal officer, to the local development corporation. Because he is not one of the seven trustees serving on the local development corporation, Crowell said, he has limited access to the financial data before the panel.

Although the VestraCare bid of $15 million for the Manor is well below the Focus offer, Zupnik said he has no plans to try to lower the sum he would pay,

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