County Executive Candidates Talk Recent County Home Proposal

Both candidates for county executive want to do their due diligence when it comes to analyzing the new offer for the County Home.

On Wednesday, Martin and Edward Farbenblum and Shannon Cayea of VestraCare made an 11-minute presentation to the county legislature. The county received VestraCare’s $16.5 million bid Monday. On Wednesday, the group toured the County Home.

“We are putting forth an offer to purchase the nursing home, which I understand is a contentious matter,” Edward Farbenblum said Wednesday. “We want to introduce ourselves, who we are.”

The group currently owns two other facilities: one in Broome County and the other in Ulster County.

Vince Horrigan, Republican candidate for county executive, is encouraged by the recent County Home proposal to increase private investment and grow jobs in the northern part of Chautauqua County.

“After listening to the new ownership team at the legislature meeting last evening, I am optimistic that the new offer from Mr. Farbenblum will actually expand health services and grow our jobs through the addition of assisted-living options as well as other health care-specialized services while eliminating the need for taxpayer subsidies,” Horrigan said. “I was heartened to see that they will be working closely with our area hospitals and that they have extensive experience in working with CSEA which is the labor union that currently represents our Chautauqua County Home workforce.”

Ron Johnson, Democratic candidate for county executive, said as a businessman, you don’t sell important assets without thorough analysis.

“I urge all those concerned to exercise ‘due diligence’ in evaluating any and all offers to purchase the County Home,” Johnson said.

Johnson said because he has been in the nursing home business for years, he knows the County Home can be returned to financial sustainability. Johnson is the chief executive officer of Human Services Management Inc., which owns and operates Johnson Adult Homes of Forestville and Underwood Manor of Hinsdale. The candidate questions how the purchasing price of the County Home is being used to market the facility.

“I do question how three potential buyers in a row have expressed interest at the very same purchase price of $16.5 million,” Johnson said. “Is our county not seeking the highest and best price possible? Is our county telling potential buyers to just offer $16.5 million, and the current administration will do its best to convince the legislature to take any offer of $16.5 million?”

Horrigan said he will be visiting Farbenblum’s facility to research how the company handles operating a nursing home.

“Over the next several weeks, I will be doing my due diligence by visiting Susquehanna Nursing & Rehabilitation Center near Binghamton to view firsthand the skilled nursing facility owned by the new proposed ownership team,” Horrigan said. “While I am encouraged by the initial interest in our home, I want to verify the offer through a fully executed contract with deposit, a tour of the facility which they currently operate, and a discussion with staff, clients and those who have dealt personally with the owners and administrator.”