City accepts ThedaCare’s proposal

Agreement clears way for sale for luxury apartment complex

After some heated discussion, the Shawano Common Council opted Wednesday to accept ThedaCare’s latest offer for a revised split of the proceeds from the sale of the former Shawano Medical Center property.

Tadych Investment Partners LLC of Green Bay is proposing buying the former SMC property for $500,000 for a luxury apartment complex.

ThedaCare owns about 3.8 acres of the property, while the city owns about 2.9 acres.

The council had three options to consider for splitting the sale revenue, including a deal that had been negotiated between ThedaCare and city staff that considered not just the share of property owned but also each entity’s investment in the property.

ThedaCare had incurred some expenses the city had not incurred in marketing the property and preparing the site for sale, including $975,000 to demolish the hospital building and restore the site to green space.

The negotiated agreement would have given 71.4 percent of the proceeds to ThedaCare and 28.6 percent to the city, which would have worked out to $356,916 for ThedaCare and $143,084 for the city.

The Shawano Plan Commission on June 28 rejected that deal by a 4-2 vote, opting instead for a split based only on the amount of property owned by each entity. That would have worked out to $284,583 for ThedaCare and $215,417 for the city.

A ThedaCare spokesman told The Shawano Leader in a June 29 interview that ThedaCare would abide by the plan commission’s recommendation and the Common Council’s ultimate decision, even if the council were to go with the commission’s recommendation.

That turned out not to be the case.

ThedaCare sent a letter to the city Friday reiterating its support of the original deal negotiated with the city that the commission rejected.

In the letter from ThedaCare Senior Vice President William Mann, ThedaCare suggested splitting the difference between the amount negotiated with city staff and the plan commission’s recommendation.

Under that option, ThedaCare’s share would be $320,750 and the city’s share would be $179,250.

The Shawano Finance Committee on Monday considered the new option and came away with a split vote.

Alderwoman Sandy Steinke, who chairs the committee, voted in favor of ThedaCare’s new offer, while Alderman Bob Kurkiewicz voted against it. Alderwoman Rhonda Strebel abstained due to her involvement with ThedaCare.

Kurkiewicz continued to push for accepting the plan commission’s recommendation Wednesday, which set off some sparks between Kurkiewicz and a couple of other council members.

“I think it’s our responsibility to the citizens to make the best deal we possibly can,” Kurkiewicz said.

Alderwoman Lisa Hoffman said the council would not be serving the taxpayers by holding up a sale and imperiling a proposed development.

“If the sale doesn’t go through then the development doesn’t happen,” she said.

Kurkiewicz continued to maintain the city holds the cards in its negotiations with ThedaCare.

“We have the winning hand here and we need to have the courage to say, ‘We have the winning hand here; this is the right thing to do for our taxpayers,’” he said.

That brought a strong rebuke from Hoffman.

“I don’t want that on the record,” she said. “A difference of opinion doesn’t make one person less courageous than another, Bob. It’s a difference in opinion on what’s best for the property, what’s best for the development and what’s best for the taxpayer. It doesn’t have anything to do with courage.”

Kurkiewicz said the council shouldn’t rush on making a decision, which brought an incredulous response from Steinke.

“Where have you been, Bob? We’ve been doing this for six, seven years,” she said. “If that’s rushing to you, God.”

Steinke also noted that under the new ThedaCare proposal the city would still recoup 94 percent of its investment in the SMC property while ThedaCare would recoup only 29 percent of its costs.

City Administrator Brian Knapp noted that the recommendation from the plan commission was the same proposal the city started with at the outset of negotiations before it was rejected by ThedaCare at that time.

Kurkiewicz called it “a slap in their face” to not go along with the plan commission recommendation.

His motion to go with that recommendation split failed to get a second from the council.

Steinke offered a motion to go with the revised ThedaCare proposal, giving $320,750 to ThedaCare and $179,250 to the city.

The motion passed by vote of 4-1, with Kurkiewicz voting against and Strebel abstaining.