BY MICHAEL RICONDA
POMONA – Three lawsuits filed to stop the sale of the Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care facilities were dismissed in court on December 1, pavingthe way for the country’s divestment from the troubled property.
State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Loehrstruck down the three lawsuits, two of which were filed by Northern Services, which lost the contract tothe Summit Park Acquisition Group. The other was filed by the Civil ServiceEmployees’ Association (CSEA), which sought to prevent a privatization of the facility and a subsequent loss of union jobs.
Loehr ruled in his decision that Northern Services and the CSEA failed to specify an adequate grounds for court intervention against thelegislative decision to sell and thus the case was beyond the court’s discretion toreview. Neither Northern Services nor the CSEA have announced plans toappeal the decision, though Northern Services has stated it is reviewingits options.
The decision was met with praise from the county representatives who pushed for the sale. In a joint statement made by County Executive Ed Day,County Attorney Thomas Humbach and Rockland Health Facilities CorporationChairwoman Susan Sherwood, they lauded the court for upholding “the rightsof the county over the greed of Northern Services Group, Inc.”
“We will continue to take an aggressive role in challenging senselesslawsuits from individuals such as Northern Services, who are seeminglyintent on putting their own self-interest, bias and personal agenda aheadof the larger good of the county, wasting time and precious taxpayerresources every step of the way,” the statement read.
Individually, Day praised his county’s legal team and expressed a desire to move forward with the sale.
“While this litigation, particularly the Northern Services lawsuit, bothhampered and delayed the process, costing taxpayers untold dollars, I ammost proud that my new countyattorney, Tom Humbach, successfully litigatedand navigated through the lawsuits, getting us back on the road to theplanned divestiture of the facility,” Day stated in a public announcement on the decision.
An agreement was reached for a 99-year lease Summit Park on July 24. The county is expected to receive $36 million for the sale, or $12 million forthe hospital and $24 million for the nursing care center, and will tally anet profit of $10 million after legacy and other costs.
The final transfer of the facility to its new operator is expected tooccur in 2015.