Oswego Health recently closed on its purchase of the land and buildings that used to make up A. L. Lee Memorial Hospital in Fulton, but the legal dispute with the city of Fulton over the land beneath the buildings has not been resolved.
Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward said that the city has won the right to intervene in Lee Memorial’s bankruptcy proceeding. The city asked the bankruptcy judge for special permission to join the case because the city missed the deadline to join.
City officials were reminded that the legislation that turned the hospital over to a private non-profit in the 1970s contained a provision that said if the hospital ever stopped being a hospital, the land would revert to the city.
Oswego Health officials warned that the city’s intervention could slow its plans to renovate the facility for urgent care and expanded outpatient services, much of it funded by a state grant. Woodward said the city did not want to stand in the way of the renovation, but if the land belongs to the city, there needs to be some compensation for taking it. The compensation could come from the proceeds of the bankruptcy.
Woodward indicated that the judge has tried to find a middle ground.
While the judge allowed Oswego Health to close on the land and buildings, “he said, let that go through so you don’t lose the $20 million grant. We’ll put the money aside and in January we’ll be hammering out what (the city gets).”
He said, “the fairest way is to let a judge do it.”