Court upholds LDC ruling, appeal is coming
GOSHEN — County officials say the Orange Valley View Development Corporation will continue its work, despite a July 22 State Supreme Court decision that says the county legislature did not have enough votes to transfer its nursing home to a Local Development Corporation (LDC).
Attorney Michael Sussman challenged the legislature's April vote to transfer the county-owned Valley View nursing home to an LDC. State Supreme Court Justice Elaine Slobod on June 15 ruled that the legislature needs a super-majority vote of two-thirds to do the transfer legally.
Justice Slobod this week denied the county's motion to dismiss her June 15 decision.
"Contrary to the County’s position that the court had only invalidated portions of the Resolution, the Judgment makes clear that the ENTIRE Resolution is annulled," said Sussman in an emailed statement Friday. "Accordingly, neither the County nor the LDC may take any actions authorized by the Resolution because, in fact, such authorization has not been properly approved by the Legislature. And, critically, since the Resolution created the LDC in the first instance, that entity must fall with the Resolution itself. In sum, by annulling the entire Resolution, the Judgment returns the situation to the status quo prior to the Legislature’s illegal adoption of the Resolution in April."
The LDC's lawyer says an appeal is in the works.
“We respectfully believe the court’s ruling is overly broad and will be reversed on appeal," said Justin S. Miller, a partner at Harris Beach PLLC, which serves as counsel to Orange Valley View Development Corporation. "We believe that an appellate court will hold that Orange County, like other counties we represent, has the power to transfer its nursing home to an LDC by simple majority vote of the county legislature. We also note that the court’s decision and judgment do not have the effect of voiding the creation of Orange Valley View Development Corporation, which was properly incorporated and continues to exist and operate as a local development corporation. Subject to appeal, the court’s decision and judgment only impact the county’s legislative resolution. We will take the necessary steps to file an immediate appeal.”
Paul Ernenwein, chair of the LDC, says he hopes the board will meet next month and continue to evaluate options for Valley View. He said it's very important that Valley View "remain a reliable, sustainable source of progressive skilled nursing care in our community." He told The Chronicle this week that he's like to see Valley View protected from the "idiocy of local politics," with its disruptive ups and downs and its "B.S."
Ernenwein said he was committed to making sure affordable and high quality long-term care is always available in Orange County, where his family has lived for generations.
"I want a place for myself and my wife," he said. "I'm not leaving."
He made reference to the findings in the Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress report on Aging in the Hudson Valley.
"There is a new emphasis on families aging together," he said. "It is critical to provide opportunities to age in place."
In an emailed statement, he elaborated on this idea: "We need opportunity for multi-generations of families to remain together in this region. We will need a minimum number of Skilled Nursing Facility beds to help make that happen. I hope our elected officials can summon the courage, strength of character and common sense to be a part of the solution that a large number of hard working, thoughtful, dedicated people in the community are attempting to accomplish."
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