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Victorian Manor rumor dispelled—sort of

By Philip Anselmo

We received a tip from one of our readers this morning that Victorian Manor was not merely delayed in the reconstruction of its facility on Main Street in Batavia, but that it would be closing down. We called to inquire about this and spoke with a woman who identified herself as Mrs. Noonan who said, regarding the rumor that Victorian Manor will close: "That's very incorrect."

Mrs. Noonan also told us that "the company is preparing a statement very soon," though on what, she wouldn't say. She told us to call her back next week, but she didn't say why.

We thought it important to note that the rumor proved false, but we were a little confused about what would be happening next week. We will get out any information as it becomes available to us.

Kelly Hansen

Just checking in to see if there was any follow-up on the story. It appears that the construction is still stalled yet we have not been told of any 'statements' from corporate offices.


Oct 20, 2008, 3:25pm Permalink
Philip Anselmo

Kelly: I attempted to get back in touch with "Mrs. Noonan" a couple times last week to no avail. She does not return my messages. Nor have I read anything in the other local media. No news release has yet come from the company, either, that I know of. I shall try again this afternoon to make contact and get some more information.

Oct 20, 2008, 3:30pm Permalink
Kelly Hansen

Thanks for the follow-up calls. It seems we don't need Mrs. Marcia Noonan to fill in the blanks.

<b>After a bit of investigation conducted online, I have come to the following end of the trail and I think, the beginning of the end of the story.

Victorian Manor is owned and operated by Sunwest Management.</b>

<b>Just in the news today, we find that Sunwest is closing two facilities:</b>…

<b>According to the article:

"Sunwest officials have confirmed that the company is having financial problems and is in the midst of a restructuring. A slew of investors in Sunwest-managed properties have sued the company and its officers, demanding unpaid interest payments and principal due on loans."

and another quote from the article:

"In August, the owners of 10 Sunwest Management assisted-living centers filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws."

There is no mention of the Batavia property, but I think the dots connected lead to a clear picture. Search under the name of Sunwest Management in your search engine of choice and it becomes painfully clear -- there is plenty there and none of the news is good.</b>


Oct 22, 2008, 12:19pm Permalink
jon doe

Go to the court house and look up mechanic leins on this property. I believe they are 1.5 million. Thats why the work has stoped. And no word as to when this will be resolved.i believe the construction firm that was building there KDA Construction went under, even tho they were owned by sunwest..

Oct 23, 2008, 9:37pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

I think that its time that we got some answers as to what's going on there. The owners should be informing the community and it's leaders what exactly it is they are going to do with that property.

Oct 23, 2008, 11:18pm Permalink
John Roach

Until I read this web site, i didn't know the company had stopped work on the project. Great work.

Does anyone know if any public money was put into this?

Oct 24, 2008, 6:13am Permalink
Kelly Hansen

While searching for Federal District Court documents to follow up on the news story I quoted about investors suing the company, it appears that Sunwest et al is very popular. I think that it is clear their PR folks and attorneys are very busy with other projects. Remember, they own hundreds of facilities and according to reports dating back to August, they are 1.8 billion dollars in debt. Anyone want to bail them out?

<b>September 25, 2008</b>

Fairview Investors v. Harder et al Diversity-Breach of Contract

Plaintiff: Fairview Investors; <b>Defendant:</b> Jon M. Harder, Darryl E. Fisher, <b>Sunwest Management, Inc</b>

<b>September 12, 2008</b>

Ventas Realty, Limited Partnership et al v. Sunwest Management, Inc. et al IL Northern Der-Yeghiayan Other Contract Diversity

Plaintiff: Ventas Realty, Limited Partnership; <b>Defendant:</b> Sunwest Management, Inc., Jon M Harder, Darryl E Fisher

<b>September 4, 2008</b>

Sterling Savings Bank v. <b>Sunwest Management, Inc.</b> et al OR Coffin Other Contract Diversity-Contract Default
Plaintiff: Sterling Savings Bank; <b>Defendant: Sunwest Management, Inc.</b>, Jon M. Harder, Kristin P. Harder, Darryl E. Fisher, Carol L. Fisher

My concern is first for the residents currently living there as it appears Sunwest cannot even pay its employees. If the bills cannot be paid, the residents may sadly be forced to find other accommodations. And then there is that big elephant of a building, lovely as it may be, right in the middle of our city immersed in a tough economy. There is a major crisis brewing in our community and 'mum's the word'.

Oct 24, 2008, 8:52am Permalink
Philip Anselmo

'Mum' certainly is the word, Kelly. But your efforts and other people's interest keep "us" all taking about it, so that no matter how mum the word is, we can at least feel that we're making it harder and harder for those who refuse to talk to keep silent. I'm hoping we'll hear something from them soon.

Oct 24, 2008, 9:21am Permalink
Kelly Hansen

Desperate times, desperate measures.

<i>Sunwest chief executive Jon Harder donated thousands of dollars to U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith's re-election campaign. Now's he hoping for a little return on his investment.

In this rambling Oct. 23 email, which Harder's lawyer confirmed is authentic, Harder pleads for Smith to intercede on Sunwest's behalf. Harder floats the possibility of tapping into the $700 billion fund set aside by Congress to bail out the nation's struggling financial sector. </i>


After years of documented mismanagement and now they want to hop on the bailout bandwagon. Who would have thought? ;)


In other Sunwest news:…

<i>Sunwest is the fourth-largest provider of senior housing in the country, with some 18,000 people living in about 280 different retirement communities. Its 57 senior centers in Oregon, which house about 3,500 people, make it the state's largest provider of retirement and assisted living.

But the company is up to its neck in red ink. It can't pay many of its bills and faces multiple lawsuits and foreclosure actions filed by lenders, vendors, contractors and investors, who are owed at least $1.8 billion.

Sunwest is desperately trying to fend off its creditors and state and federal securities regulators, who want to know more about Sunwest's dealings with investors who plugged about $400 million into various Sunwest affiliate companies. At the same time, it is trying to operate its enormous network of retirement homes under increasing financial constraints.

"They assured us that they had every intention of maintaining satisfactory patient care," Gear said. "But we've seen mounting issues of medication errors, no responses to calls for help or call-lights, and rooms not being cleaned."

The issues are not limited to Oregon. In Texas, North Carolina and beyond, former employees, residents and residents' family members say Sunwest-affiliated homes have pared spending on food, activities and maintenance, they are racked by high employee turnover, and they struggle to pay their bills on time and do vital maintenance chores. </i>

Nov 3, 2008, 4:54pm Permalink
Timothy Paine

Kelly, excellent work! I've been doing a little research too after reading your posts. You sparked some interest with me on something that I knew nothing about. You're right, that is a BIG elephant in the middle of our city. It is a very nice place and the city should be diligent in keeping it that way. What a shame it would be to have a facility of that size and quality become a failed project. Keep up the great work and I look forward to any other information you gather.

Nov 4, 2008, 9:01am Permalink
Kelly Hansen

Sunwest Management in the news:

November 7, 2008

<i>"Tahlequah Senior Living Property LLC operates Heritage Place Assisted Living Residence. The suit also names Sunwest Management Inc., Jon and Kristin Harder and Darryl E. and Carol L. Fisher as defendants. Sunwest manages the facility, according to First National Bank and Trust Co. of McAlester’s petition."</i>

Full story here:

According to the article, they not only are late on the forbearance but on the regular payments as well. Bank is seeking $1.99 million plus fees.


From November 6, 2008:

<i>"An arm of the giant Credit Suisse bank has reached into west Eugene to attempt to foreclose on — and seize cash from — the 14-acre Alpine assisted living, memory care and retirement cottage complex on Barger Drive west of Highway 99.

The move is another example of how the global financial crisis is hitting home as the Salem-based Sunwest Management company that runs 57 senior housing facilities in Oregon struggles under the weight its own real estate debt.

In a lawsuit filed in Lane County Circuit Court last week, Atlanta-based Column Financial — a real estate lending unit of Credit Suisse — sought to foreclose on a $159 million loan that Sunwest took out in May 2007 using the Alpine complex as collateral."</i>


Nov 7, 2008, 6:04pm Permalink

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