County responds to legal challenge of Citizens, Montevue sale

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Source: Frederick News Post
Author: Bethany Rodgers
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Date Published: 11/19/2013

A roughly 200-year-old deed doesn’t present an obstacle in Frederick County’s move to privatize its nursing home and assisted living centers, attorneys for the county argue. In response to a legal complaint filed by sale opponents, the county’s attorneys assert that governments must have the flexibility to dispose of property if they feel it is the best interests of citizens. Operations at Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living have cost taxpayers more than $53 million since 2000, and county officials have the authority to decide when enough is enough, attorneys wrote in legal filings. Those who want the county to keep Citizens and Montevue have challenged the sale with a pair of cases filed in Frederick County Circuit Court. Earlier this month, attorneys for the county submitted a defense to the larger of the two cases. The filing zeroed in on debate surrounding a deed drawn up in 1828 when Elias Brunner sold 88 acres to the county “for the Benefit of the Poor of said County, and to and for no other use, intent or purpose whatsoever.” The plaintiffs have argued this statement clashes with the county’s plan to hand over the facilities to a for-profit company. Montevue provides reduced-cost, assisted living care to residents who cannot afford to pay full price.