Six Valley View bids under review

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County commissioners agreed Tuesday to consider six bids for Valley View Home, ranging from $12 million to the highest bid of $16.1 million from a Brooklyn-based management company.

Commissioners Terry Tomassetti and Diane Meling said Tuesday that they were pleased with the response and surprised by the amounts.

“We’re at figures now that I thought we’d be at after the second round,” Tomassetti said.

“[A bid of] $16.1 million was more than I ever expected,” Meling said.

Because of the way the bidding process is structured, commissioners are under no obligation to sell the home to the highest bidder.

“It’s not just the price. There are other factors involved,” Solicitor Nathan Karn said.

Through the Chicago real estate investment firm of Marcus & Millichap, commissioners required all bidders to reply to a request for proposals that would include information about the bidders’ experience in nursing home operations, their foreseeable plans for Valley View and their willingness to meet specific requests from the county.

Because the responses include information that is subject to negotiation, the responses are not considered public documents under current Pennsylvania law.

Commissioners, however, have the responses and may be ready for a discussion on Tuesday that could mean asking specific bidders for more information or even selecting finalists in the bidding process.

Valley View employees said they were saddened and disappointed with the commissioners’ decision to take another step toward selling the home.

“Our stance has been, and will continue to be, that we are opposed to selling Valley View, and believe our seniors are best served by keeping the home public,” certified nurse’s aide Sharon Pope said.

Valley View employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare, started working against the sale in October and collected 4,000 names on petitions in favor of retaining the home.

Tomassetti, who supports the sale, maintains that the home is a financial liability for the county and its taxpayers. He predicts that selling it to a private entity will put the home in a position for additional enhancements, which lead to growth and more jobs.

Commissioners eliminated three of the nine bidders that responded to the RFP. In one case, Madison Healthcare Management of Brooklyn, N.Y., failed to submit the required $150,000 bid bond.

Commissioners also agreed to exclude Zenith Health Care of Cedarhurst, N.Y., whose response indicated that it would not agree to maintain Valley View as a nursing facility through 2023, and Absolut Care Facilities Management of Roslyn Heights, N.Y., which said it would not recognize any existing unions at the home.

Of the remaining six bidders, Karn said commissioners may find some responses with which they don’t agree, but nothing so significant that disqualifies those bids.

“Nobody could respond perfectly,” Karn said.

The high bidder, TL Management LLC, has no website. Its bid was submitted by Rosenbaum & Associates of South Salem, N.Y. When contacted Tuesday, TL Management could offer no one to speak about its bid for Blair County’s 240-bed home.

The company was in the news in 2011, when it paired up with Global Healthcare Services Group of Howell, N.J., to offer $35 million for the 725-bed Gracedale Nursing Home in Northampton County. That proposed sale fell through when a citizens group in the home rule county successfully petitioned Commonwealth Court to put the sale question before voters, and voters said no.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.