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BIDDER DENIES PLANS TO SEEK AID ON MOUNT VIEW

The co-owner of Senior Associates said he "categorically denies" any intention to use Industrial Development Agency aid to finance the purchase of Mount View Health Facility or the construction of a replacement nursing home.

When asked if such aid would be sought for construction of a new nursing home or renovation of the current one, Marc I. Korn said, "If there are economic incentive dollars available, I would be foolish not to look at them."

Although the county's request for bids for the nursing home mentions that development agency aid could be available for the buyer, the documents submitted by Senior Associates do not mention seeking such aid, contrary to allegations made from the audience at a televised County Legislature meeting.

"I categorically deny any intention to take Mount View off the tax rolls," Korn said. "I would not go to the IDA for assistance for financing the purchase of a new or old nursing home."

In a wide-ranging interview last week, Korn also said his Amherst company is making a counterclaim against a drug supplier that sued it in 2003 over more than $180,000 in unpaid bills.

Court papers assert that the vendor owes Senior Associates a refund because of "malicious and fraudulent" overcharging, a claim denied by the vendor's lawyer.

Korn also denied charges by a member of the audience at last Tuesday's County Legislature meeting that Senior Associates had bankrupted a nursing home in Jamestown.

He said Senior Associates bought the facility after its previous owners went under and a judge ordered it shut down.

Also, Korn said Senior Associates' political contributions to state and local Republican candidates should have no impact on whether the Republican-controlled County Legislature approves its $2.1 million bid for Mount View.

Niagara County Board of Elections records show no donations to county legislators in the last three years by Senior Associates, Korn or his partner, Jeffrey D. Lapides.

Also, state Board of Elections records show they have made no donations in the last five years to any state lawmaker living in Niagara County.

The company made a $150 contribution to the Niagara County Republican Committee last December. Korn said that resulted from a solicitation -- mailed to Fairchild Manor, a Lewiston nursing home that Senior Associates owns -- to buy tickets to a Christmas party at Niagara Falls Country Club.

Senior Associates' bid documents say it will consider replacing Mount View, which was built as a five-story tuberculosis sanitarium in 1939. However, Korn said the company promises to keep the existing patients and offer the county employees jobs at private-sector wage rates.

In the 2003 lawsuit, filed in Erie County, 2121 Main Street Pharmacy of Cheektowaga alleges Fairchild Manor and Batavia Nursing Home, also owned by Senior Associates, had failed to pay for $180,000 in medications and other medical merchandise purchased from 2000 to 2003.

In its counterclaim Senior Associates alleges that 2121 Main Street undercredited its account for returned drugs and billed the nursing homes for drugs they never received and costs that should have been paid by third parties.

Korn said he demanded a refund; the amount still is being calculated. The case is pending before State Supreme Court Justice Eugene M. Fahey.

"We're good corporate citizens," Korn said. "We handle millions of dollars a year. One of our relationships with one of our vendors went sour. We're not going to make them go away with a ransom. When you're right, you fight."

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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