‘Save Our Hospital’ efforts have paid off

Published 6:53 pm Thursday, March 10, 2016

To the Editor,

I had chance to read the propaganda letter to the editor in your paper by Mr. Bill Iler on March 8, 2016. It is time for your paper to expose what I and many others believe are the outright lies that the opposition to the hospital promote through your paper. First, understand that Mr. Iler is a man who showed up on a boat in Belhaven during the Vidant struggle and immediately went to work for the Vidant efforts. He was very active in the last election, visiting almost every house in town promoting misinformation about our town administration and liability about the U.S.D.A. loan. Notice that not a single one of the four managers — Deb Sparrow, Lynn Ross, Darren Armstrong or Brantley Tilman — wrote the scathing letter full of misinformation but used him for their response. He appears to be their spokesman.

Let’s look at his comments in the Letter to the Editor. He said that the Pantego Creek LLC still owns the hospital and has over 100 members. The opposite can be verified. It is my, and many others’, understanding that the LLC made amendments to their Articles of Organization on March 10, 2014, that state, “The members of this company must be organizations (I) qualified as tax exempt under section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code or (II) governmental units or wholly owned instrumentalities of a state or political subdivision thereof.” Do you see individuals mentioned as members?  The members have been sent letters as if they are still members and now this Letter to the Editor. It is shameful.

Mr. Iler mentioned a vote by the LLC members to go with Vidant. He doesn’t mention that the members were misled, as some have told me. From my, and many others’, understanding that members were told if they didn’t vote with Vidant they would be personally liable for the hospital and they would have to invest $28,000 each to save the hospital, which Mr. Iler doesn’t mention. Both of these statements were false due to the nature of a LLC for liability purposes and the ability to borrow money against the debt-free facility to continue operation.

Mr. Iler also speaks of the mayor’s LLC. I don’t own a LLC of any kind. The town doesn’t own a LLC of any kind; check the Secretary of State’s website. Instead, the town has set up a 501 (c) 3 to operate the hospital called Pungo Medical Center. The nonprofit is set up to protect the town from any financial liability of the hospital. The board is appointed by the Belhaven Town Council on which I only have a vote if there is a tie.

Lastly, the town has paid thousands of dollars to save the hospital due to the consequences of losing a viable hospital. The efforts to Save Our Hospital have paid off and now we are ready to reopen the hospital, which will have unprecedented positive effects on our town.

Remember the LLC has reneged on deals to give the hospital back to the community twice, which has caused more taxpayer funds to be spent.

The veterans are a blessing to our effort and will be present at a press conference next Wednesday, March 16, at 1:30 p.m. at the Belhaven Civic Center. Iler, Deb Sparrow, Darren Armstrong, Lynn Ross and Brantley Tilman, come out to the news conference and tell the veterans who are helping put this project together that they are scam artists.

Adam O’Neal
Mayor of Belhaven