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Hope Creek sale may be approved next week

Hope Creek sale may be approved next week

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Hope Creek

Hope Creek Care Center

Finalizing the sale of Hope Creek Care Center may be voted on during next week's county board meeting. 

County board members on Wednesday approved the agenda for the Feb. 18 regular meeting, which includes a closed session and discussion of selling the county-owned nursing home, 4343 Kennedy Dr., East Moline. Action may be taken after closed session that includes board members voting to move forward with the sale to Aperion Care Inc. for $6 million.

Rock Island County Board Chairman Richard Brunk told board members that as of Wednesday's committee of the whole meeting, contract negotiations with Aperion are still underway, but that could change by Tuesday.

"As of this moment, we do not have a signed contract for you to consider," Brunk said. "We are still hoping we will get that in very short order. As soon as we have it in hand you will be notified. If we get it in a timely fashion before Tuesday, we will add it to the (meeting) agenda."

Brunk said representatives from Aperion toured Hope Creek again on Wednesday. 

Board members voted in June to seek buyers for Hope Creek, saying the county could not continue to support it financially. The facility, built for $25 million in 2007, still has $11 million left on the mortgage and $7.5 million in short-term debt. County Auditor April Palmer said Wednesday that Hope Creek loses an average of $100,000 per month.

County Treasurer Louisa Ewert told board members that a $1.9 million tax anticipation warrant on Hope Creek was refinanced, leaving $400,000 as the maximum the county can borrow on the TAW for the rest of the year. 

The facility was listed for $19 million in September by broker Marcus & Millichap. Aperion Care was the high bidder with $6 million, but Hope Creek residents, their families and employees have expressed concern over the company's record of violations and fines by the Illinois Department of Public Health that amounted to $367,000 across its 34 Illinois facilities in 2019 alone. 

Three other companies made lower offers on Hope Creek: Altitude Healthcare and Cascade Legacy Healthcare both offered $5 million, and Mosaic Healthcare offered $5.5 million.

Board Vice Chairman Brian Vyncke said during the 60-day contract review period with Aperion, the county is not allowed to consider other offers. Aperion paid the county $10,000 in earnest money, which the company will forfeit if Aperion backs out of the deal. If the deal goes through, the letter of interest states the county must pay Aperion the full amount of accrued vacation and sick pay for any employees Aperion might retain once they take over.

"It's out of our hands, there's nothing we can really do other than wait until the timeline expires and then see what our options are," Vyncke said. 

If board members vote to accept the terms of the contract with Aperion, it will require a two-thirds supermajority of 17 of the 25 board members voting in favor. 

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