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Weatherwood sale today

Published June 30. 2010 05:00PM

The sale of Carbon County's nursing home is scheduled to become official today.

During a special meeting of the county commissioners' on Tuesday, the board tied up a few loose ends on the pending sale of Weatherwood, the Carbon County Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Weatherly. Motions included ratifying an amendment to the asset purchase agreement, and approving the minutes of last week's regularly scheduled meeting; as well as yesterday's special meeting.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained the special meeting was needed because the title company handling the closing had requested more information from the county.

A second special meeting was called to order at 9 o'clock this morning, in regard to the closing and transfer of ownership. According to the sale agreement, Guardian Elder Care of Brockway will pay Carbon County $11,050,000 for the 200-bed nursing home. This is $3,050,000 over the county's initial asking price.

If all goes as planned today, Carbon County will retain the facility until 11:59:59 p.m. At midnight, Guardian will take over management.

This means, O'Gurek stated, that Weatherwood employees working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift tonight will be paid by the county for one hour and Guardian will pay the remaining seven hours.

The sale of Weatherwood has generated a lot of interest in the nursing home world since it was officially put on the market on Jan. 14.

The commissioners stressed at that time that making the decision to sell Weatherwood was not one they wanted to make, but the county could not afford to continue to lose $8,200 a day at the facility. The $3 million deficit the nursing home was experiencing was evident throughout 2009 by numerous loans the county gave Weatherwood totaling $2.5 million. The loans were used to cover bills, pay employees, and offset other costs.

Following the announcement of the sale, 47 interested parties signed confidentiality agreements, which allowed them to access all necessary information, and over a dozen companies opted for tours of the facility.

The companies were then given the opportunity to submit bids and proposals for the sale.

On March 25, the county announced that Guardian Elder Care would be the company purchasing Weatherwood.

At that commissioners' meeting, the board introduced Guardian's owners, Raymond L. Calhoun and Peter Varischetti, and Eddy J. Inzana, president and CEO of the company.

The three men spoke about their company's standards; as well as their hopes for the nursing home's future.

Commissioner Charles Getz had been adamant about not wanting to sell the nursing home until an analysis showed that the home was operating on a $3 million deficit with no end in sight.

"I was concerned with who would own the facility," he said at the time. "But, as we spoke to companies, I was really impressed with Guardian and when I met you in person, I was really assured that we were making the right decision to sign a letter of intent.

"I am glad that we chose you, because in my heart, I know you'll do what is right for the people up there, the people who work there, and that you will continue to make Carbon County's Weatherwood a great place for residents."

Over the last few months, the board of commissioners have worked diligently to draw up agreements to pay Weatherwood employees' for sick time, vacation days, and personal days that are not carried over with the sale; as well as provide sufficient information on their retirement benefit options.

Last week, the county added to 2009's loan total, agreeing to loan Weatherwood $900,000 to help offset its costs.

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