Pine Crest sale closing date pushed back three months

Lincoln County board approves extension to end of September

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Editor

LINCOLN COUNTY – The closing date on the sale of Pine Crest Nursing Home in Merrill has been pushed back three months.

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors approved the sale of Pine Crest to Merrill Campus LLC and Senior Management Inc. in February. At that time, as part of the Asset Purchase Agreement, a Sunday, June 30 closing date for the sale was established.

During its meeting at the Lincoln County Service Center in Merrill on Tuesday, June 18, the board approved a resolution moving the Pine Crest sale closing date to Monday, Sept. 30.

The vote followed a recommendation from the county’s Administrative and Legislative (A&L) Committee to extend the date, citing logistical challenges.

The committee met in closed session, per Wisconsin statutes, on Wednesday, June 5, to discuss the agreement and returned to open session with motions directing Lincoln County Corporation Counsel Karry Johnson to modify the agreement to move the closing date to Saturday, Aug. 31 and instructing Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator Renee Krueger to work with North Central Health Care (NCHC), which manages Pine Crest, to ensure the dissemination of communication.

During last week’s meeting, the resolution was amended to change the extension date from the end of August to the end of September.

Krueger said during the meeting that the proposed August extension date ultimately presented problems due to the Labor Day holiday, and the September closing date was put forth because it falls at the end of a fiscal quarter, adding additional benefits from an accounting perspective.

Krueger told the board that among the difficulties encountered involved “relying on third parties,” specifically relating to the county’s Information Technology (IT) systems.

As the June closing date approached, Krueger explained, it became apparent that it was unlikely that the county would be able to fulfill its IT part of the sale contract. Meanwhile, the buyers informed the county that “due to circumstances beyond their control,” they would need an extension to proceed with the sale, Krueger said.

Prior to discussion on the resolution, several individuals utilized the meeting’s public comment period to voice concerns regarding the buyers’ reasons for requesting an extension.

“I understand there’s been a number of requests for additional information,” Krueger stated. “However, this is the information we have available to share at this time. We understand that there is a lot of transition fatigue, a lot of anxiety, and the extension creates additional unrest for employees and residents. The buyer continues to communicate routinely with Pine Crest administration regarding operations, and all parties continue to make every step necessary to bring the sale to a successful closing.”

During discussion on the resolution, several Supervisors raised questions concerning financial implications related to Lincoln County maintaining ownership of Pine Crest for an additional three months.

Gary Olsen, NCHC Executive Director, told the board that NCHC was “set to close operations” at Pine Crest this month and noted organizational challenges posed by restarting operations that were slated to end.

Olsen said he couldn’t give the board an exact dollar amount related to potential costs associated with the closing date extension, but he said NCHC will “continue to run Pine Crest the way that we’ve ran it.”

Krueger told the Tomahawk Leader that Lincoln County pays NCHC $440,815.00 annually for the administration of Pine Crest, and the county’s 2024 budget was crafted to account for a full year of Pine Crest administration.

“When the sale closing occurs, that amount will be prorated,” Krueger said.

Krueger noted that there are “a number of variables that will impact the final reconciliation, such as accounts receivables.”

“These will continue beyond the transition date, regardless of the extension,” Krueger stated. “The final fiscal impact, whether positive or negative, will not be able to be reconciled until well into 2025.”

After discussion, the amended resolution was approved with 16 votes in favor.

Scroll to Top