Former FMH property sells for $1.5M

WINNBORO – After discussing the former Fairfield Memorial Hospital property sale and other items in an executive session that lasted a little over an hour, council voted 5-1 on third reading to sell the property, all doctors’ offices and the John Martin building to Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center for $1.5 million. The property and leased offices do not include the hospital itself which is being offered for sale by the former hospital board.

Councilman Doug Pauley cast the lone opposing vote. Councilman Neil Robinson was absent.

Prisma Health was also interested in the property and leased buildings, but Councilman Doug Pauley voiced concerns the vote was stacked against Prisma.

“I don’t think Prisma had a fair shot coming in when they gave their presentation,” Pauley said. “They didn’t have the votes before they came in here.

“I didn’t go in having a preference between Prisma and Eau Claire,” Pauley told The Voice. “But we wasted Prisma’s time having them make a presentation in executive session. It became obvious that the four already knew who they were going to vote for. Them pretending to be deciding between the Eau Claire and Prisma was a joke.”

After County Council voted to sell the hospital property, Councilman Clarence Gilbert expressed concerns regarding general secrecy among the majority board, including Chairman Moses Bell in regard to trying to broker a deal on the hospital building as well.

Specifically, Gilbert accused Bell of meddling in and trying to broker deals with buyers for the sale of the hospital building without the council’s knowledge or formal approval.

“Our chairman is going behind council and trying to negotiate and broker deals and representing the county as a whole, and we know nothing about it,” Gilbert said. “From what I gather, the interim administrator knows nothing about it also. This is something that has to stop.”

Gilbert said he fears such activity will expose the county to lawsuits.

 “It’s eventually going to get this county sued and he’s [Bell] going to get himself in serious trouble also,” Gilbert continued.

Bell did not respond to Gilbert’s comments.

“Bell,” Gilbert told The Voice, “is trying to broker deals that the hospital board, not the county, is in charge of and has the sole responsibility for.”

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