Midland Care buys Linnwood at auction
by Clarke Davis
Midland Care Connection Inc. purchased the Linnwood Park Assisted Living facility in Valley Falls at auction Feb. 28, paying $850,000 plus a 5 percent fee for the auction house.
Midland Care is a 30-year-old, not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Topeka serving an 18-county area of
Midland CEO Karren Weichert states that Linnwood will remain an assisted living facility.
“We intend to meet with the staff and share our vision. It is our hope they will want to continue to serve the residents,” she said.
As for the auxiliary building that once was licensed as Home Plus, Midland has no immediate plans.
“That’s kind of a blank slate,” she said. “We need to survey the community and respond to the needs.”
Midland Care currently operates one 12-bed assisted living facility in Topeka along with an 18-bed hospice
facility. It offers a number of other services for the elderly that includes adult day care and a PACE program—Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly—providing families and caregivers with a number of services so people can continue to live in the community.
An 18-member volunteer board of directors oversees Midland Care, which has offices in Topeka, Lawrence, Ottawa, and now Valley Falls. It employs about 200 people and has a volunteer force of about 200.
The auction was held at Linnwood with auctioneer Jim Sanders of Sanders Auctions, Topeka, starting the bidding at $700,000. Competing with Midland for the property was the F.W. Huston Medical Center, Winchester.
“I went through a whole gamut of emotions yesterday. I was drained,” said Ken Hartle, the seller, the day after the auction.
“It was certainly sad to have to sell it, but I’m relieved at the same time,” he said.
Hartle said he was sure the new owner would retain the current policies and that the residents could be assured that it would remain an assisted living facility.
Hartle explained prior to the auction that he and his partner, R. Dennis Casey, had been the victims of an embezzlement scheme. Employees of First Priority Pay, a company that processed Linnwood’s employee payroll for several years, had stolen the money that was deducted for various taxes and never paid the government.
Although the people responsible were prosecuted and are serving time, the payroll company is out of business and the Linnwood owners are still responsible for the money owed to the government.
It was a sizable theft and one that Hartle said he and his partner could not recover from without selling off the Valley Falls property. He said there are needed repairs and improvements that were impossible for them to afford.
They will continue to operate the two Home Plus facilities south of Meriden, formerly known as Deer Park. These facilities each have eight residences.
Hartle said both homes are full now and he and his partner will continue on, that their financial situation is now within reason and they believe they can recover.
It will be 30 to 60 days before the sale is finalized and the title transferred to the new owners.
Duane and JoAnn Stoskopf, the Kendall State Bank family, built the tudor-style house in 1976. In October 1998, it was purchased by Marilyn Zieg and the late Bob Zieg for the purpose of converting it to an assisted living facility. The Ziegs added the additional apartments in a horseshoe arrangement that attached to the house. They opened Home Plus in 2005.
Ken Hartle and his partner purchased the property in 2006.
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