JCA obtains injunction against PAMI


A St. Louis County judge ruled in favor of the Jewish Center for Aged in its trial seeking an injunction to prevent PAMI, the mortgage holder of the Cedars at the JCA, from foreclosing on the facility without first giving the JCA the ability to purchase the mortgage note.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Melvyn W. Wiesman ruled earlier this month that PAMI, a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers, must give the JCA a “purchase notice,” as stipulated in the original lease of the ground upon which the Cedars was built. The Cedars at the JCA is a 252-bed senior care facility in Town and Country, which opened in 2003.

JCA leased the ground to JCA Support Co., a separate legal entity, with a provision that any future mortgage holder on the facility built there would have to provide JCA with the opportunity to purchase the appraised leasehold interest before the mortgage holder could foreclose.

“It’s as positive an outcome as we could have hoped for,” said Ken Rubin, president of the JCA Board of Directors.

“The judge’s decision supports what we have been saying our rights have been all along,” he said. “It certainly gives us a much better opportunity to continue our mission and that’s what the board is looking to preserve — the mission of this over 100-year-old institution.”

Rubin said PAMI has not contacted JCA so far, and they have not offered a purchase notice.

“There really are three different options we see at this point,” Rubin said. “They could appeal. They could issue us a purchase notice, or they could want to talk about some sort of settlement. The board and the executive committee are working hard to analyze the various alternatives and be in a position to respond when that happens.”

Gary Eisenberg, an attorney with Herrick, Feinstein LLP, a New Jersey firm representing PAMI, said his client did not wish to comment.

Rubin said he is confident that if PAMI offers a purchase notice the JCA will be able to make the purchase.

The JCA and PAMI went to court in late November 2007, seeking to halt PAMI’s attempts to foreclose on the Cedars. PAMI purchased the $55-million mortgage of the Cedars in a HUD auction in September for $19.1 million, according to Department of Housing and Urban Development records.

The Cedars had been in default on its mortgage payments since 2005.

Judge Wiesman granted a temporary restraining order in December, requiring JCA to post a $1.5 million bond.

The recent ruling sets in place a permanent injunction preventing PAMI from foreclosing without providing a purchase notice to the JCA. The ruling stipulates that the $1.5 million bond will stay in place until any appeals have been completed, or until the right of appeal expires.

Rubin said the Cedars has been operating as usual, with consistent numbers of patients.

“We’re continuing to operate the facility as best we can, giving top quality care to the residents and to the employees,” he said.