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2 CSEA lawsuits in other counties were dismissed

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 August 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Orleans County officials will head to court on Tuesday for the initial court appearance in a new lawsuit filed by the CSEA employees union, which seeks to stop the county’s push to sell The Villages of Orleans, a county-owned nursing home on Route 31.

A previous lawsuit filed by citizens in the county failed to sway Acting State Supreme Court Justice James Punch. And two other lawsuits in other counties filed by the CSEA also failed to convince judges.

Orleans County officials have declined to publicly comment on the latest lawsuit, filed July 10. (Click here to read an earlier article from Orleans Hub on that lawsuit.)

However, I talked with county officials, and they are confident the county’s decision to create a local development corporation, charged with finding a suitable buyer for the nursing home, will be upheld. They point to two cases in other counties.

In Onondaga County, a judge in May rejected the CSEA’s lawsuit trying to block the transfer and eventual sale of Onondaga County’s Van Duyn nursing home. (Click here to see an article from the Syracuse Post Standard about the lawsuit.)

State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood ruled against the union. CSEA argued the county acted illegally when it transferred the nursing home to a county-created development corporation as an interim step toward selling the home.

Onondaga County officials said the nursing home faced multi-million-dollar annual deficits. That’s the argument presented in Orleans County, where county leaders say the nursing home could approach $2 to $4 million annual deficits.

CSEA has filed a notice of appeal in the Onondaga case.

In Saratoga County, a State Supreme Court judge last month dismissed a lawsuit by CSEA trying to prevent the county from selling the publicly owned Maplewood Manor. The union contested the county illegally transferred a county asset to the LDC while the nursing home remained a public use.

Supreme Court Justice Robert Chauvin ruled that CSEA had no grounds to sue over the county’s privatization plan.

“The factual allegations within the petition do not set forth any alleged illegal actions,” Chauvin wrote. “The allegations within the petition fail to establish any basis of standing and fail to present a justiciable controversy or otherwise set forth a basis for relief.

(Click here to see a report from The Ballston Journal.)

The union is considering an appeal in that case.