Monday, September 19, 2011
The prospective new owner of the Pima County nursing home facility, Posada del Sol, checked in late last week to ask for a correction in the story “Under-Sold?.” The piece at one point identified two other properties actually owned by William “Avi” Rothner in Nebraska as being owned by Hunter Properties Investment.
The properties are indeed owned by William “Avi” Rothner, which the story made clear later on in the piece. However, Hunter Properties Investment placed the initial bid for the properties.
For further clarification, The Range talked with Rothner’s Illinois attorney, Stephen Sher. Like in the Pima County sale, Rothner used Hunter Properties Investment LLC for the first step in the bid process for the purchase of a nursing home owned by Lancaster County in Nebraska. Once the sales agreement was complete, Sher and Rothner filed the nursing home under a new LLC.
In the “Under-Sold?” story, this process was discussed toward the end of the story regarding a letter provided to Pima County by Sher and Rothner. The reason this letter was provided to the county was due to research culled by Posada employees and others concerned with the sale, who then presented those concerns to the Pima County Board of Supervisors in early August. The concerns centered on the name listed on Hunter Properties Investment LLC file with the Illinois Secretary of State — Eric Rothner, who is William “Avi” Rothner’s father.
The concerns brought up to the Board of Supervisors focused on Eric Rothner’s nursing-home interests in the Midwest, and newspaper reports and legal blog posts on violation allegations at nursing-home facilities that he owns or co-owns.
William “Avi” Rothner told the Weekly and Pima County that his father does not have any ownership in the Nebraska facilities, nor would he in Posada del Sol in Tucson.
Rothner’s attorney told The Range that the Lancaster County nursing home was purchased by Lancaster Manor Real Estate LLC when the purchase agreement was approved.
“This office recommends that clients not form new entities every time we submit a bid or letter of intent for purchase because we don't always become a successful bidder,” Sher explained. “We suggest the client wait to form the LLC until the bid is accepted and there is a name picked for the facility.”
Sher said he and Rothner had to move fast on the Pima County bid and had no choice but to use the Hunter LLC, because they “didn't have an appropriate entity formed that was available to use on a temporary basis for the bid.”
“Yes, in hindsight we should have formed a new Illinois LLC ... to hold the temporary position as the bidder for William, but we didn't think people would be upset about Mavin and Hunter's connection to William's father, Eric Rothner.”
On the other side of the story, Ed Moore, who is challenging the bid and sales agreement with Rothner in the name of Pima County taxpayers, was unhappy that his concerns regarding what he perceives as legal issues with the county’s bid process weren’t discussed as completely as he would have liked in “Under-Sold?” He said he preferred to get his message out to Weekly readers through a Guest Commentary (although he has not contacted editor Jimmy Boegle to ask for a commentary slot). He did mention that he would offer up a $1,000 reward to the person who can provide a copy of the bid from Hunter Properties Investment LLC that was approved by Pima County Board of Supervisors.
In a memo forwarded to The Range, Moore mentions the Aug. 15 Board of Supervisors’ meeting when the purchase contract was awarded to Rothner, and other meetings and agendas that list the award going to Hunter Properties Investment.
“I paid for copies of the two highest bids received by Pima County for this purchase. There was NO “BID” from Hunter Property Investments LLC. In other words, Pima County turned down a bid for $9,150,000 and, instead, awarded the purchase to Hunter Property Investments LLC for $7,800,000 — a company that had not submitted a bid. In my opinion, the reasons given by County staff for throwing out the higher bids actually received are suspect,” Moore wrote in his memo.
“To help expose the truth to our community, I will pay $1,000 to the first person who can provide a copy of the bid from Hunter Property Investments LLC. It must be the bid voted on by Pima County.”