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Rock Island County board rejects sale of Hope Creek to Aperion
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Rock Island County board rejects sale of Hope Creek to Aperion

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Hope Creek Care Center will not be sold to Aperion Care.

Rock Island County board members rejected an amended sales agreement with Aperion during a meeting Thursday night following a 2-hour, 20-minute closed session during a conference call. 

Aperion amended their original purchase offer of $6 million for Hope Creek, lowering it to $4 million. The county-owned nursing home at 4343 Kennedy Dr., East Moline, was listed for $19 million in September by broker Marcus & Millichap. 

Before the meeting, Rock Island County Administrator Jim Snider said Aperion initially dropped its offer to $3.6 million. But Infinity Health, which owns 14 skilled nursing facilities in Illinois, stepped in and offered $4 million. Snider said Aperion agreed to match it, but board members weren't happy. 

David Adams made the motion to reject Aperion's new offer.

"I make a motion to reject the amendment and terminate negotiations with Aperion," Adams said. 

Eight board members voted to accept the amended sales agreement with Aperion — Dewayne Cremeens, Patrick Moreno, Rich Morthland, Ron Oelke, Robert Reagan, Rod Simmer, Kai Swanson and Robert Westpfahl — but 15 voted to reject it.

After the eight board members were overruled, Morthland said he was still in support of selling Hope Creek. 

"I just want to make it clear that while I was supportive of the sale to the rejected party, that I am also supportive of proceeding to find a reasonable offer as soon as possible so we can achieve the sale of Hope Creek," Morthland said. "That has always been my desire."

Snider said after the meeting the county would "wait and see" what happened with Infinity Care as the potential buyer. 

At the time Aperion offered $6 million in February, three other companies made lower offers on Hope Creek: Altitude Healthcare and Cascade Legacy Healthcare each offered $5 million verbal offers, and Mosaic Healthcare offered a $5.5 million written offer.

Snider said when Aperion lowered its offer earlier this week, the other three companies were contacted and all declined, saying they were no longer interested in purchasing Hope Creek.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had hit nursing homes the hardest and the situation had affected buyers' interest in purchasing such facilities. 

"We have the largest-impacted business by COVID-19. The economics have changed," Snider said. "The only reason airlines are flying is because the government loaned them money. What would be helpful is a bailout for nursing homes. 

"The Number One concern is that the residents are cared for and the employees still have a job," he said. "The world has changed economically, and we have to react to it. We have been working with our attorney and our broker."

Snider said there likely would be no financial penalty for Aperion and its $10,000 in earnest money would be returned.

Hope Creek is losing $100,000 to $150,000 each month, he said. The county currently owes $5 million in short-term debt and $12 million on the building's mortgage. 

County Board Chairman Richard Brunk acknowledged how time-consuming negotiations have been. 

"I'd like to thank everyone," Brunk said. "We've had some challenging moments recently, made more complicated by having to manage through the situation with COVID-19. I appreciate everyone who continues to work and be diligent as we work through these matters. I greatly appreciate it."

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