Anagnostakis seeks state probe of past interest owed to county nursing home

Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis announced this week that he’s asking the state Comptroller’s Office to investigate what became of past interest earned by the county’s nursing home, following the recent pledge by county officials to pay the home $600,000 in interest for last year alone.

The decision to forward those earnings acted as a sort of counterweight to a new county policy of charging the home for the services of other departments, like the County Attorney’s Office and Information Technology. After billing the Valley View Center for Nursing Care in this year’s budget, lawmakers voted this month to claw back another $1.6 million for 2017 services, over the protests of Anagnostakis and other Valley View advocates.

County officials argued they were merely restoring a past accounting practice now that the 360-bed home is financially stable, and said they would take the additional step of sending Valley View the massive interest generated last year by its cash reserves, which grew to $55 million. That raised a question for Anagnostakis: what did those officials and the previous administration do with all the interest Valley View earned in prior years?

Anagnostakis, a Town of Newburgh Republican who delved into Valley View’s finances while fighting past attempts to privatize the home, said in a statement that the home had $9 million in its reserves as early as 2000 and had added more each year.

“Since that time, each and every year many millions, and in some years many tens of millions, of dollars of Valley View cash have been earning interest — interest that can ONLY legally be received by Valley View — yet Valley View had never collected a single penny of it, ” he said. “That’s a hell of a lot of interest that was earned during that time!”

State Sen. James Skoufis, a Woodbury Democrat, issued a statement this week condemning the Valley View billing, saying, “It is disheartening and fundamentally wrong to see the county cut millions of dollars that should’ve been invested in our community’s seniors and veterans at Valley View.”

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