Manzanita Manor Auction Now Aug. 28

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The sale of Manzanita Manor's assets has been pushed back two weeks, but the assets of four other Mark Yampol-owned businesses including Peppertree Apartments in Payson were picked up from the Tucson auction block as scheduled Tuesday.

Those assets were claimed by the creditor to whom Yampol owes $940,000, the attorney who mounted the auction said Wednesday.

"The Manzanita Manor auction was continued to Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.," said Jeffrey H. Greenberg of the Tucson law office Leonard Felker Altfelde Greenberg & Battaile, which is representing Yampol's unidentified creditor. "That means there is a discussion going on between Mr. Yampol and my client to see if they can come to some arrangement so that Yampol can keep the Manzanita Manor facility."

Yampol, a resident of Tucson, leases and manages Manzanita Manor senior health care building complex through his Tucson-based company, Community Care LLC.

The assets of four other Yampol properties up for bid The Peppertree Apartments, Santa Rosa Clinical Care in Tucson, Chula Vista Clinical Care in Mesa, and Desert Haven Clinical Care in Phoenix did make it to auction Tuesday, Greenberg said, "and they were acquired by my client."

Greenberg emphasized that it is the Yampol-owned assets, not the physical properties themselves, that are being auctioned.

"Each facility is in a separate entity," Greenberg said. "The assets of those entities were pledged to my client. My client obtained the assets of those entities, not the entities themselves."

Part of what Greenberg's client acquired, the attorney said, is "the rights that those entities had under the leases for those properties: accounts receivable, inventory, and whatever other personal property (that) belonged to those entities."

According to a legal notice published in the Arizona Republic and other newspapers Aug. 4, the assets of five residential and care facilities managed by Yampol's companies were to be auctioned "for cash to the highest bidder," including "accounts receivable, contract rights, equipment, fixtures, general intangibles, inventory and all proceeds thereof and accessions thereto."

Yampol's $940,000 debt came about, Greenberg said, because "basically, my client loaned money (to Yampol) and has granted numerous extensions. From my client's perspective, it did not appear that Mr. Yampol was going to be able to take care of the obligation in any kind of acceptable time frame. So he exercised his right as a lender to foreclose on the collateral."

Yampol said last week that he had obtained a "credit line" and that, as per an agreement with Greenberg, the entire Tuesday auction was "a moot issue" because it had been canceled before the attorney had left for a vacation in the previous week.

Asked if this was true, Greenberg said, "No."

According to a number of state and local health care officials, even if the Manzanita Manor assets are sold in the Aug. 28 auction, it does not necessarily mean the facility will close or that its 54 residents will have to seek immediate relocation.

Residents and their families are advised to contact their physicians and case managers.

According to reports in the Tucson newspaper the Arizona Daily Star, Yampol's business history includes a number of foreclosures, foreclosure sales, lawsuits and legal action initiated by creditors since 1999.

Turmoil continues

"My concern for all of the residents is the possibility of having to uproot them," said a close relative of one Manzanita Manor resident who asked not to be identified. "Some of them have been there a long time, and it's very upsetting, and perhaps frightening to some, to have to take them out of their environment. But with all that we've heard, we almost don't have a choice ... I think I would really be foolish to sit on my hands and wait to see what happens, because there are limited beds at Payson Care Center."

In the meantime, a number of vendors who served Manzanita Manor are in the process of suing Yampol for unpaid bills. Among them is the Mesa-based Crandall and Associates Consulting Dietitians, the largest consulting dietitian firm in the country to which Yampol owes $5,000, according to Rich Crandall, the company's chief financial officer.

"I just spoke with the accounts payable person at Manzanita Manor," Crandall said Thursday morning. "I was told that they are using a consumer-credit counseling firm out of New Jersey to avoid bankruptcy, and that I should call that firm to arrange a payment plan. So I called and was told, 'Oh, no. We won't do business with Manzanita. We've sent them numerous letters and faxes, and they won't even respond to us.'"

Soon after the suit against Yampol had been filed, Crandall said, "We called a Tucson process server at random, and he said, 'Yampol? I have to tell you up front, I charge an extra $100 fee to serve Mr. Yampol. I've done it so many times, and he has learned how to avoid process servers so well, that I have to charge $100 above my $55 regular fee.'"

When contacted, the Tucson process server, Barry Cole, hung up at the mention of Yampol's name. Further calls were unanswered.

Yampol and Manzanita Manor's chief administrator, Becky Brimhall, did not return several calls before press time.

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