Services must continue at Cedars


On page one of this edition of the St. Louis Jewish Light, we report on the latest development affecting the future of the Cedars at the JCA: A restraining order issued by a St. Louis County Circuit judge to delay foreclosure proceedings by the holder of the mortgage note on the facility. Under the judge’s ruling, the mortgage holder cannot foreclose on the facility until after a hearing on the matter in late January. While the delay is welcome, the future of the JCA and its ability to meet the needs of the indigent and other frail elderly in our local Jewish community remains uncertain. What is certain is the strong commitment by our Jewish community to continue essential services to our frail elderly Jewish population.

In September, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sold at auction the defaulted Cedars/JCA mortgage note to PAMI Autumn LLC, an affiliate of the investment firm of Lehman Brothers. The Jewish Federation of St. Louis had submitted a bid for the note during last September’s auction, but was unsuccessful. At this writing, the Jewish Federation and the leadership of Cedars/JCA have been seeking to strike an agreement with PAMI to re-purchase the note, and recently put forth an offer significantly higher than the amount the Federation originally bid. The Federation has done this because it hopes to preserve Jewish community control over the Jewish Center for Aged to support its mission of caring for low income elderly who require or prefer a Jewish setting. The beautiful, state-of-the-art Cedars/JCA facility on South Outer 40 Road was built at a considerable expense of about $60 million; regrettably, the agency, even with the financial backing of the Jewish Federation, was not able to prevent the sale of the mortgage note.

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Last week, as reported in this issue of the St. Louis Jewish Light, PAMI took the first step toward foreclosure by publicly posting its intent. According to court documents filed by the JCA attorneys, however, the original lease states that the JCA must be given the first opportunity to purchase the mortgage note.

If an agreement between PAMI and the Cedars/JCA cannot be worked out, other options will need to be pursued in order to protect the vital interests of the Jewish community that the mission of the caring for indigent elderly be protected.

We strongly hope that the efforts of the Jewish Federation and Cedars/JCA will be successful, and we applaud their efforts to assure that there be no interruption in these services to our elderly population.