Long meeting ends with no decision

After a meeting that lasted nearly five hours Tuesday evening, Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York representatives had little to say.

The LERHSNY Board of Directors meeting was held at the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator in Dunkirk, reportedly due to a rally of community members and local fire departments at Lake Shore Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The board meeting was kept private and the media was asked not to question board members as they exited the building.

LERHSNY CEO Gary Rhodes and Board Chairman Christopher Lanski said they would answer questions about the lengthy meeting.

“We had a lot of very valuable discussion and we’re going to continue to evaluate all offers and do our due diligence and we will keep you updated as things change,” Lanski said.

Rhodes said the board discussed the purchase offer and came to no decisions.

“That’s it. We discussed the offer that we received,” he said.

Rhodes confirmed the board has only received an offer from a group of three people led by Tony Borrello, a local businessman.

Rhodes and Lanski refused to answer further questions and would not say when the board plans to meet again.

Borrello had not heard from his lawyer about the results of the meeting by 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

However, he said he believes he can make Lake Shore a profitable hospital.

“We plan to keep the hospital intact the way it is. We will keep the nursing home and the day care and all of it and still make a profit,” he said.

He said they plan to change the management team and would like to keep any staff that would like to stay.

Borrello’s letter of intent to purchase the hospital was released to the media Monday and he confirmed it includes a bid between $11 million and $15 million for the hospital. Borrello said he submitted a $50,000 deposit with the bids for the hospital.

The January closure of Lake Shore Hospital was announced on Oct. 16 with an estimated 460 jobs to be lost.

In addition to the loss of jobs, the Silver Creek, Hanover and Irving community and fire departments are concerned with the loss of emergency services in the area.

Lake Shore is expected to lose $7 million this year and was struggling financially even before Brooks Memorial Hospital agreed to partner with the hospital in 2008 after the Berger Commission recommended the facility’s closure.