Board clashes over letter of intent

Robert Blackford/Editor

The Mercer County Board agreed (at its Feb 6 meeting) to enter into an agreement with Genesis by agreeing to a "Letter of intent" to sell the Mercer County Hospital and Mercer County Nursing Home. The letter gives the board a number of days in which to reach an agreement with Genesis and a period of exclusivity as well. The county can't seek another bidder in that time.

The board passed  the measure on an 8-2 vote with board members Fred Rooth and Brian Anseeuw voting against the measure.

Rooth argued that the county was trading money for money in parts of the Genesis agreement and the county was actually selling the hospital for closer to $500,000.

Anseeuw said a Chicago group that is a professional seller of nursing homes estimated the value of the nursing home at $2.1 million and the county should probably take a look at this since those people are professional sellers. Anseeuw claimed there is a $2 million difference in what the county could receive for the hospital and nursing home and what Genesis is offering.

"We are selling ourselves short," said Anseeuw. Anseeuw reiterated, "We need to have professionals handle this." He urged the board not to make a "Hasty" decision. "Nothing says this deal has to be done tonight."

Anseeuw and board member Floyd Utz got into a heated discussion over whether the board should proceed with the agreement with Genesis.

Board chairman Maxine Henry noted that the letter of intent was all they were looking for that night and that it was for the next six months.

"Why should we lock ourselves in for six months," said Anseeuw.

During that time the board can see if there are any offers. The board just can't solicit offers.

Utz noted "Then we can see who's fishing and who's cutting bait."