ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill — In a 17 to 5 vote tonight, The Rock Island County Board approved the sale of Hope Creek Care Center. 17 board members needed to vote "yes" for the sale to be approved.
The nursing home is almost $18-million in debt and Aperion Care offered $6-million. On February 25, the board voted 17-5 to accept that offer.
That's the highest bid the county has received since the home was listed back in September. It was listed in September for $19-million.
Since the board approved the deal, Aperion has 20 days to back out of the offer if they find the property has more than $150,000 thousand in repairs.
"This was a very difficult decision for the board," Chairman Richard Brunk said. "Because, no one was really pleased that we had to come to this decision. But, it honestly is the best decision for everyone involved."
"What this county just voted for is to inherit a history of harm and that is what breaks our hearts," Hope Creek union, AFSCME, representative Joshua Schipp said. "We had something very special here and it was basically just thrown out the window in a very hasty fashion."
Brunk says if the board did not approve of the sale, the next steps would have been to close the facility.
"I voted yes because I wanted to help ensure that we still had those 200 plus jobs in the community and that those residents continue to have their home," Brunk said.
Hope Creek staff and family members say it's the standard of care changing that worries them.
"When you put a company in there and their goal is to make money then that's what their goal is," Schipp said. "How you make money in a nursing home is you reduce staff, you cut corners and you do everything you can to maximize profits."
Board Chairman Richard Brunk says it will take the county five years to pay off the remaining debt.
The county and Aperion are set to close by the end of August.
"There are a lot of things these board members who voted yes are going to have to answer yes to the public," Schipp said.