Apparent failure of a bankruptcy auction this week leaves the 42 residents of Bell Mountain Village and Care Center in Bellevue facing potential eviction, though the facility’s owner said he still thinks that won’t happen.

Foreclosure remains likely following the auction, which began Monday and has not yielded a bid acceptable to its creditors. The bidding process is scheduled to end next Monday, and if no higher bids are received, foreclosure will be likely.

If the creditor decides to evict, that would also leave 62 employees out of a job.

According to a Sept. 24 press release from facility owner Safe Haven Health Care, the highest bid of $3.6 million from Cascadia Services was not accepted by the facility’s biggest creditor, Citizens Community Bank in Pocatello. Cascadia owns several nursing care facilities throughout Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Citizens Community Bank has said it will not accept a sale unless it receives $4.5 million, the balance owed as of November 2018. That amount has increased since then with the interest on it.

“Based on the present bids and Citizens Community Bank’s position, it does not appear likely that the bankruptcy court will approve a credit bid sale to Citizens Community Bank,” the press release states. “Citizens Community Bank retains the option of foreclosing on the assets.”

The bank began foreclosure proceedings in September 2018, but has continued to work with Safe Haven CEO and President Scott Burpee and the court, as a sale of the facility remained possible. According to Burpee, the bank has remained in a “holding pattern” until it is determined whether the facility can be sold at a price that would satisfy it. That being said, Citizen’s Bank tipped its hand last week when it submitted a legal notice to the Idaho Mountain Express for a foreclosure auction hearing on Dec. 19, indicating that it doesn’t foresee a successful offer by Monday.

In a phone interview Thursday, Burpee said he remains hopeful that this situation will be resolved without the eviction of his residents from the facility.

According to Burpee, there is some indication that a buyer made contact with the bank to purchase the facility after the foreclosure process. Burpee said he believes eviction of the facility would be unlikely, given that the bank would then be in ownership of three empty buildings not earning any revenue. To his knowledge, Burpee said, there has never been a nursing home eviction in Idaho due to foreclosure.

“I’m very optimistic that it’ll work out,” Burpee said.

Burpee also said he could not say whether the bidders who placed bids on Monday will raise their bids. Following the conclusion of the bidding next Monday, a bankruptcy court hearing is scheduled for later that day to assess the sale bids and how to proceed.

Bell Mountain Village and Care Center opened for business in January 2015, replacing Blaine Manor in Hailey for skilled-nursing care.

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