Monday, May 04, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Ernest Health Pulls the Plug on Its River Project Rehab Center

Helpful hints for the Godfrey Administration: How to count chickens before they are hatched

UPDATED with a little trip down memory lane

Ouch. Disappointing news from the Boss Godfrey administration in this morning's Standard-Examiner. Ernest Health, Inc., the Albuquerque hospital operator which was expected to construct a $17 million rehab facility in the very heart of Ogden's beleaguered Leshemville Wasteland Project Area, is apparently now pulling the plug on the project. Here's the gist, from this morning's Scott Schwebke story:
OGDEN -- A 4-acre parcel owned by the city within the first phase of the Ogden River Project that was supposed to be the site for a rehabilitation hospital is back on the market.
Ernest Health Inc., based in Albuquerque, N.M., had a $1.5 million agreement to buy the property at 20th Street and Grant Avenue by the end of 2008 from the Ogden Redevelopment Agency.
However, Ernest Health missed the deadline to finalize the purchase because it has been unable to secure financing, said Tom Christopulos, the city's business development manager.
Thus the Ernest Health project joins an increasingly long list of Boss Godfrey schemes which have died on the vine due to the financial incapacity of the proposed developers.

Sadly, it seems like only yesterday that Mr. Christopulos and the rest of the Godfrey Administration were doing the "high fives" and calling the project a "done deal." What a difference eleven months make.

And for Boss Godfrey and his claque of overly optimistic suits on nine, we offer some helpful and highly pertinent web-based advice:
How to Count Chickens Before They Are Hatched
Reader comments are invited, as always.

Update 5/4/09 11:07 a.m. MT: Now that we're back on the Ernest Health topic, here's a little trip down memory lane:
Ogden RDA Board Bends Over
Remember, folks; the RDA bonded and/or tapped its credit line for $7.5 million to acquire the subject parcel for Ernest, among other things, upon which public debt the taxpayers remain liable for principal plus interest.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.


Curmudgeon said...

The Godfrey Administration's much ballyhooed coup in bringing an Ernest Health rehab center to the River Project has apparently fallen through. Ernest, which had an agreement with Ogden City to buy a 4 acre tract of the River Project for $1.5 million couldn't come up with the money. It missed the deadline for payment to finalize the deal, and the land is now, says said Tom Christopulos, Ogden's business development manager, "back on the market."Mr. Christopulos insists that although Ernest couldn't raise the money for the project, it's still in the picture. Maybe. But the land is up for sale. He says the city's had some nibbles, one from a group of hotel investors, but nothing definite yet. [Would it be churlish to ask Mr. Christopulos if the investors are thinking of an indoor water park as part of their hotel, and perhaps a lobby gondola station? Or if they'll insist the city find the 250 parking spaces it misplaced, which was given as the reason an earlier big hotel development fell through? Just wondering....]

Mr. Schwebe reports: "In January 2006, Ernest Health abruptly canceled its plans to build a hospital in Ogden after the RDA board, made up of city council members, questioned Darby Brockette, the company's president and chief executive officer, about the firm's finances and investors.Members of the RDA board later apologized, and Mayor Matthew Godfrey's administration encouraged the company to return to negotiations." As I recall the Administration got all huffy about those questions, terming them outrageous and uncalled for. They don't seem so outrageous this morning, do they. I wonder if Hizzonah, Mayor Godrey, will now go before the Council and apologize. Not holding my breath.

Let me be clear: I hope Ernest gets its financial house back in order and builds a rehab center in Ogden. It would be good for the city and create jobs. The point is, that the Council was right to have asked some hard finance questions of the company at the outset. It is the Council's job... it's the Mayor's too, but he doesn't seem much interested in doing it..

what would jesus say said...

The option for Ernest Health expired at the end of 2008. Why did it take five months for this bit of information to come about?

More secrets, and operating in the dark alleys.

OgdenLover said...

Rhetorical question time:

Could someone please name one project the Mayor has started or tried to start that has actually been successfully completed? No, the half-finished Junction doesn't count, especially since it's being subsidized by the taxpayers.

Maybe he should use his energies to actually run the municipal government for the benefit of the citizens. What a concept!

Al said...

What potential opportunities were missed because the parcel was being held for Ernest?

Godfrey and his overpaid business development department need to get out of the game.

dan s. said...


Sure, I can name a few: the downtown IRS buildings; the municipal amphitheater; the extensions to the River Parkway; and some of the individual parts of larger projects, like the Megaplex 13 and the Treehouse Museum and the Bingham's building.

Your point, however, is still well-taken: Godfrey's success rate in delivering on his development promises isn't high.

Someone should put together a comprehensive list. Rudi?

keisha said...

Although there are still a few people around Ogden who still cling to the romantic notion that Godfrey is a real estate development genius, all the real evidence supports the view that he's a major screwup.

Tom's two bits worth said...

It turns out that the council members were right to begin with in inquiring about Ernest Health's ability to finance this proposed facility. Some of the principles of Ernest had connections to shady dealings in the health care industry and to that point had produced absolutely nothing that would indicate they could actually finance the project.

The whole brouhaha with the council was orchestrated by the disingenuous mayor in an attempt to publicly embarrass, and steamroll into submission, the new council that had the audacity to actually ask these kind of legit questions of people who were looking for massive handouts from the city tax payers.

Unfortunately the Standard played their dutiful part in the mayor's little scam, and this article, in its selective telling of the story, is continuing to mislead the citizens as to the true nature of this whole Ernest fiasco.

This is just the tip of the ice berg as it pertains to the perfidy the Godfrey administration has practiced in their grand schemes, the vast majority of which have been big publicly financed failures.

blackrulon said...

Maybe they are just waiting for construction of a urban gondola to make the dream a economic reality.

What will it cost us said...

How many times do we lumpcitizens have un-named investors ready to put their money up. They should be able to get those investors of Leshamville to fess up and start paying fines, taxes, and clean up costs.

The City Council should finally step up and cut the mayors budget for those suits making big bucks being paid with our tax dollars. They have failed to bring more businesses into the city, even with incentives.

Cost overruns for the train car informational center, bleachers purchased without city council permission, moving the water tanks and the mayors says he can do it without the City Councils approval.

When will he stop screwing the taxpayers of the city. I don't need to pay higher water and sewer rates for future developments, just an upgrade.

The City Council needs to stand up for the taxpayers since the out of state developers have their hands in the cities coffers.

Anonymous employee said...

I'm sure it will be blamed on the council-no one wanted to invest due to the hostility, some b.s. along that line.

Arlene said...

Dan S

Are you sure about your statement about the IRS buildings and municipal amphitheater being Godfrey projects?

I am of the opinion that these projects were conceived of and started under the prior administration.

Please clarify.

dan s. said...


You may be right about when the IRS project was started--and I know that plenty of the credit for bringing the IRS downtown goes to others besides Godfrey. Still, he must have been involved at a significant level.

dubious said...

Godfrey can't claim credit for the IRS projects, Dan.

They were conceived and originally implemented by the Glen Meachem admininistration, with the help of Utah Senator Bennett.

Same for Ogden's BDO, from which Godfrey has mercillouslly raped taxpayer revenue with the Junction.

Fortunately, Godfrey hasn't yet figured out how to siphon off the revenues from this good and sustainable project to THE URBAN GONDOLA.

But the little shit still seems to be working on it.

mba said...

Remember how Godfrey ran for re-election on his business savvy? If held a job in a business and kept telling his bosses that they should sign on the dotted line with different partners/clients who continuously were unable to bring to the table the $$ that was promised, how long do you think he'd have his job?

ozboy said...

I do not think that the Lil Lord could hold a middle management job in even a small company. He doesn't really seem to have the talent for anything but spawning poorly thought out business ideas and deals that have one thing in common - they are all losers built upon the backs of the long suffering tax payers.

The several contracts he has negotiated with Boyer are cases in point. Even if the underlying projects succeeds, the financial backers (tax payers) will never directly benefit, and if the projects lose (like all of them do) the tax payers absorb all of the loses. In other words, Boyer has absolutely no risk in any of the multi million dollar arrangements they have made with our very own self described business wizard. On the other hand the tax payers have everything to lose and nothing to gain in every one of these lousy deals.

The Lil Lord would not last a week in any management position in any private enterprise.

anonymous employee said...

Reading the city's 2008-09 recreation program-"the holographic ice tower is available year round"-oops. For more information visit or

Al said...

The link to pulls up a Japanese website with a cartoon giraffe. The link to mentioned on the Envision Ogden website takes you to "" billing, so if you are the website owner you can log on to pay your account.

Does this mean the icetower project is dead?

i heard it with me own ears said...

Those of you who want the true story of the Ernest Health presentation to the Ogden City Council need to listen to the taped minutes of the January 2006 public meeting.

On that tape Dorothy Littrell urges the Council to investigate for themselves the background of the Ernest Health principals who had formerly been part of HealthSouth.

HealthSouth took our government for the largest Medicare fraud case in Medicare's history. She pointed out the connection Ernest Health had with the Wall Street firm planning to market the package for raising funds because Ernest Health had no funds.

At that same meeting Jim Briley made a presentation of his questions about Ernest Health's financial integrity.

Those of us who were there that night saw and heard the rough treatment and harsh words accorded both Jim and Dorothy for daring to discuss Ernest Health's financial condition.

Mr. Brockett could not answer the financial questions at that time and Ogden City has never asked the right ones since that meeting. It has been get Ernest Health to town at any cost of Ogden citizens.

Typical Mayor Godfrey maneuvering.

disgusted said...

just went to the ogden city web page to find financial info on the city - good luck folks it doesnt exist there anymore. so much for transparency.

while cruising around trying to find anything went to the blue header titled development and then when the option bar opened up clicked on redevelopment and up pops a map. on the map where mt. ogden park and golf course is located is a pea green shaded area that is referred to as st. benedicts rda. since when has the park and golf course been know as such and why the rda designation. last time i looked at the mt. ogden general plan this was always discribed as mt. ogden park and golf course and not an rda area.

this seems to be rewriting the history of what the people of ogden have already decided to do with this property.

this is wrong and who ever did it knows it. theres an agenda at work here. nothing like telling potential investors that there is city money avaiable to help develop this area.

city council should see that this misrepresentation of the area is corrected immediately.

disgusted said...

also while city council corrects the above item they should also ask the city administration to also put back onto the city web page access to the city finacial reports access to the city coucil and planning commission agendas and the timing of these meeting.

also would further suggest going forward that details of the items to be voted on at these meeting be made available on the city web page prior to the voting. maybe even the packets that are provided to the members of the council. nothing like going to a council meeting to hear the vote for something that you dont know all the details to on what is being voted on.

George K. said...

What would Jesus say asked: “The option for Ernest Health expired at the end of 2008. Why did it take five months for this bit of information to come about?”
Councilwoman Jeske asked the administration a couple of weeks ago about Ernest and whether they were going to come to Ogden. That’s when it was revealed that they had missed the deadline date, and she followed through with the question about what was being done to sell the property that was being held for Ernest.
Who knows when we would have found out that Ernest had bowed out of Ogden if Councilwoman Jeske hadn’t asked about it. So much for Godfrey’s rant about telling the truth and being open with the taxpayers. As I said in a previous post, “Godfrey hasn’t changed his tune even one half note.” How much
Dubious, you said “Same for Ogden's BDO, from which Godfrey has mercillouslly raped taxpayer revenue with the Junction.
Fortunately, Godfrey hasn't yet figured out how to siphon off the revenues from this good and sustainable project to THE URBAN GONDOLA.
But the little shit still seems to be working on it.”

He has tried to take over the income from BDO, he even went so far as to include in one of the contracts with Boyer that the Council would hand over the income from BDO to Godfrey so that he could make rental payments to Boyer for one of his lame brained ideas. The Council voted it down 4 to 3, with Glasmann, Stephens and Stephenson voting for it. The deciding vote was cast by Safsten who jumped off the Godfrey ship and voted for what was right for Ogden!
We need to remember who voted for that contract when we vote for council members this fall.

The Lovely Jennifer said...

Didn't Little Matty say when he won [sic] the re-election that he was going to continue with business as usual? That nothing would change in how he operated the administration? Seems I remember something to that tune.



Brett said...

One of the reasons that the Administration probably doesn't have the financial report on the web site is because they are late with ALL of the financial reports! The Council always receives them late from the Administration who claims that they are providing the info as soon as they are able.
Maybe there needs to be a change in the finance department! Especially after Arrington said that an amended ordinance for the 36th water tanks wasn't necessary. It appears that he is as corrupt as Godfrey!

oldtimer said...

Do not ever forget that John Arrington owes his job to the Mayor so he is not about to rock the Mayor's boat.

OgdenLover said...

You want to buy a house, you put down earnest money.

Making these concessions to Ernest Health without demanding earnest (sic) money or having a forfeiture penalty seems like poor business practice to me.
So what else is new at City Hall?

Welcome Wagon said...

little matty needs a beat down then a escort back his home town

blackrulon said...

When will the mayor or the S-E revisit the comments questioning the motives of people asking questions. The city council was correct in asking about the financial ability of Ernest Health to pay for the project. Gadi Leesham, Chris Peterson, Ernest Health, Jeff Lowe. Are people with actual financial resources interested in investing and building in Ogden?

disgusted said...

here is the link to the city web page that refers to mt. ogden park and golf course as an rda site.

Bill C. said...

Having a small herd of chickens for some years now, I should point out what should be an obvious initial observation. Before you bother to count your eggs, look for the presence of any roosters. An unfertilized egg will never develope. None of lying little matty's cohorts, or beneficiaries, have any of their own clams sunk into any of these endeavors, this means almost all of these are totally infertile.
It would be a total waste of time waiting for any progress towards hatching, they will rot. I may suggest scrambling or over easy for the current eggs in the basket. It may not hurt to find a rooster.

Britney Spears said...

Honestly, I think we should just trust Mayor Godfrey in every decision that he makes and we should just support that.

dan s. said...

Bill, I knew you'd have the best insight into the chicken situation. Thanks!

Farther up above, "anonymous employee" quoted a city brochure saying the ice tower is already available for use. I happened to see that brochure today when I visited the municipal building on other business. I'll try to scan it and ask Rudi to post it here for everyone's amusement. Talk about counting chickens.

Hey, Rudi, seems to me a sidebar category on "counting chickens" might be needed. There's already plenty of material, with no end in sight.

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