Suffolk Comptroller Joseph Sawicki says that Degere Physical Therapy is not entitled to any finders’ fee from the $23 million sale of the county nursing home.
In a memo issued to lawmakers, Sawicki said Degere’s contract stipulates no fee will be paid if the county sells to a nursing home operator previously identified by the county as potential buyer.
Sawicki’s memo states that the buyers, Israel and Benjamin Sherman, “were in fact previously identified by the county twice trough two separate request for proposal processes” in 2009 and 2011. Earlier lawmakers had questioned whether Degere was eligible for fees since it did not have a real estate license.
The comptroller also warned that the county may owe $360,000 to its former consultant Loeb and Troper, which had identified the Shermans as potential buyers during their contract, which ran out at the end of 2010. Their contract made the county liable to pay a fee if they made a deal with a previously identified buyer within two years after their contract lapsed. Loeb and Troper has already made $200,000 in county fees. Firm officials did not return calls for comment last week about their potential windfall.
During legislative deliberations, county executive aides told lawmakers Degere’s $580,000 fee had been reduced by $400,000, limiting the fee to the sale of the nursing home business, not the real estate. They also raised the possibility of using the savings to fund a severance package for nursing home workers affected by the sale. However, no deal has yet been reached.