Times Union Watch: #4 Ms. Liberatore Rewrites History

So if you have read through the previous posts, it should be more than clear that in a three to two vote, the Saratoga Springs City Council censured then Mayor Yepsen for improperly soliciting business from Saratoga Hospital.

Now consider reporter Wendy Liberatore’s retelling of the events.  According to her article:

“The battles led to accusations of ethical violations and even the censure of a mayor over her decision to abstain on a zoning variance [my emphasis] for Saratoga Hospital.”

There are a number of problems with this statement.

First of all the Hospital was not applying for a variance.  Variances are granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals not the City Council.  They were seeking approval of a Planned Unit Development application that requires Council action.

Secondly, as meticulously documented in the previous posts, then Mayor Yepsen was not censured for her “decision to abstain.”   She was censured for soliciting employment from an organization while it had business before the City Council.

Thirdly, the ethical violations were not just “accusations.”  The Saratoga Springs Ethics Board, made up of Mayor Yepsen’s appointees, unanimously found that she had violated the city’s ethics code.

Ms. Liberatore restates her claim again later in the article:

“In 2016, tensions exploded when Madigan, Mathiesen, and Scirocco voted to censure Yepsen over the mayor’s recusal on a vote to give a zoning variance Saratoga Hospital needed for a controversial office building.  Yepsen abstained because she was seeking outside consultant work with the hospital.”

Most of the errors in this restatement are addressed above.  She has, however, added an additional error.  At the time of the vote Saratoga Hospital had advised Yepsen that they would not entertain any business with her as long as she was mayor.  In addition, Mayor Yepsen had written to the Ethics Board that she did not plan to seek work with the hospital any more.  So when she abstained she was actually not “…seeking outside consultant work with the hospital.”

I wrote to Casey Seiler who Ms. Liberatore reports to asking for corrections to her story.  He responded with the following:


John:

You’re misreading the passage from Wendy’s story, which states:

In 2016, tensions exploded when Madigan, Mathiesen and Scirocco voted to censure Yepsen over the mayor’s recusal on a vote to give a zoning variance Saratoga Hospital needed for a controversial office building. [That vote was in July 2016.] Yepsen abstained because she was seeking outside consultant work with the hospital. [As reported in January 2016.]

Madigan then [as in, after Yepsen’s recusal in January] asked the city’s ethics board to launch a probe into Yepsen’s consulting work and her recusal. Madigan read the findings of the ethics board, which said it was a conflict of interest to seek consulting work with anyone doing business with the city as it was considering the hospital’s $14 million proposal for a 75,000-square-foot office building and parking lot. 

Yepsen’s recusal was the precipitating action in the whole mess, followed by the ethics board’s initial advice that she should recuse and subsequent determination that she need not have done so. I’m sure you would have phrased it differently, but I think the facts are pretty lucidly laid out.


I would like to acknowledge the promptness with which Mr. Seiler responded to my inquiry.  Not only did he respond within several hours but he did so on a Sunday.

Still, even after his annotation of the text, I am at a loss to understand his apparent misunderstanding  of a key point.  He argues that the precipitating event that blew everything up was Mayor Yepsen’s recusal which is true.  What he appears to overlook or ignore is the troublesome text that the vote was “…to censure Yepsen over the mayor’s recusal…” This is flat out a misstatement of what occurred.  She was not censured because of her recusal.  She was censured because the Ethics Board found that she had violated the city’s ethics code.

I have a certain sympathy for Mr. Seiler.  His inclination to defend his reporter is understandable.  He also probably has a lot on his plate and relies heavily on his reporter for what is happening up in Saratoga.

The reality here is that for obvious reasons, Ms. Yepsen would like the history of this sordid business to focus on her recusal.  People of goodwill may differ on whether she should have recused herself but that act is not particularly damning.  Her preferred narrative is that she was a victim of her enemies on the Council who seized on the recusal to harm her.  This is the way Ms. Yepsen would like people to remember this ugly history.  The fact that Ms. Liberatore should adopt this narrative that is so obviously inaccurate raises fundamental questions as to why she would write this.

I have just one other inaccuracy to note.  Ms. Liberatore, referring to Commissioners Mathiesen and Madigan writes, “The two Democrats formed a solid voting bloc with Republican Scirocco on the five-member council.”  This is untrue.  On the two biggest controversies the city faced during this period, the Hospital expansion and charter change, Mathiesen took sharply different positions.  Other Council votes were 4-1 and many were unanimous. Again, this is part of the Yepsen narrative as these are the three who voted to censure her.

These errors are not simply a reflection of sloppiness on Ms. Liberatore’s part. Her attempt to rehabilitate Joanne Yepsen reflects her exploitation of the privilege she enjoys as a reporter for a major area newspaper.

 

 

Times Union Watch: #3 The Ethics Board Investigation of Joanne Yepsen and the Decision

I need to clarify the time line for these events.  Arthur Gonick’s story and my summary so far describe Ms. Yepsen’s attempts to gain work with Saratoga Hospital and her request for an advisory opinion from the Ethics Board.  Neither the public nor the other members of the City Council were aware of Mayor Yepsen’s dealings with the Hospital nor were they aware of her request of the Ethics Board for an advisory opinion on recusal. Her decision to recuse herself from the Hospital Planned Unit Development vote and thus kill the project was the flare that was to light up the past.

Commissioners Chris Mathiesen, Michele Madigan, and Skip Scirocco immediately requested from Mayor Yepsen, all documents associated with her relationship to the Hospital.  They also asked Saratoga Hospital for any documentation they might have.

The documents they received were the email exchanges between Ms. Yepsen and the Hospital as documented in part one of this series of posts.  These were submitted with a complaint to the Ethics Board by these three commissioners on February 1, 2016.

Complaints to the Ethics Board are handled pretty much completely outside of the public view.  In the case of the Yepsen complaint, we now know that the Ethics Board issued their decision in a letter to Ms. Yepsen on March 24, 2016.  The Ethics Board determined that her solicitation of business for her consulting firm from the Saratoga Hospital Foundation while the Hospital was seeking approval for their Planned Unit Development from the Council constituted a violation of the City’s Ethics Code.

During the deliberations of the Ethics Board Ms. Yepsen chose not to meet with them in her own defense.  Instead she used her authority as Mayor to hire the law firm Howard Beach who submitted a memorandum on her behalf appealing the Ethics Board’s decision.

It is important to note that under the city charter special expenditures for expenses like the hiring of a law firm require prior approval by the City Council.  Ms. Yepsen ignored this policy and hired Howard Beach to represent her without getting the required prior approval for this expenditure. This is a link to the relevant text in the charter: preapprovalForPayment

The law firm’s memorandum to the Ethics Board was dated June 10, 2016.

So even though the Ethics Board rendered their decision on March 24 we are now into early June before the Mayor’s attorneys submit their memorandum. The process has dragged on for over four months.  The Ethics Board has, in the past, moved expeditiously in resolving complaints.  Why did Mayor Yepsen decline to meet with the Ethics Board to address the complaint prior to the Ethics Board rendering its original decision? What went on for the four months prior to the attorneys submitting their memorandum? What kind of interactions occurred that created this delay?  The only people who know are the members of the Ethics Board, Joanne Yepsen, and her attorneys. It would appear that the Ethics Board showed exceptional deference to Mayor Yepsen in this affair.

The Harris Beach appeal is summed up in their conclusion section.  Drawing on the New York State General Municipal Law and other related standards they are critical of the city’s Ethics Code for its strict standard which allows no exceptions.  They point out that the standards for conflict of interest in other New York State laws are far less rigid than the city’s.  The fact is, however,  that the city has the right to establish stricter codes than the state standards. Bear in mind that the city’s ethics codes were amended in 2015. Ms. Yepsen praised the new codes when she voted for them.

Ms. Yepsen’s attorneys argued that the Saratoga Hospital Foundation was not the applicant for the Planned Unit Development, Saratoga Hospital was.  Thus, according to the attorneys, since Ms. Yepsen was dealing with the Foundation and not the Hospital, she had not solicited work from the institution which was actually doing business with the city–that is, the Hospital.

They go on in a lawyerly way to challenge key definitions in the Ethics Board decision by referencing these terms as used in New York State Municipal Law.

They argue that “…as a matter of law the zoning application by the Hospital is not considered a contract with the City.  Therefore, since the application is not a contract as defined by GML [JK: NYS General Municiple Law] §800, the Hospital cannot have a business relationship with the City as a result of such application.”

They then get into the weeds by challenging what “doing business” means.  They assert that “without a business relationship, it is unreasonable for the Board to determine that the application for zoning is ‘doing business’ with the city especially since the Code does not define ‘doing business’.” 

So the issues here were  whether the Hospital and the Hospital Foundation were separate and distinct entities and whether the Hospital’s application for a Planned Unit Development constituted “doing business” with the city. I understand that the term “doing business” is broad and undefined in the city code. I am reminded, though,  of the famous quote by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart regarding the problem of defining obscenity. He famously said, “I know it when I see it.”

Link to full text of Howard Beach Conclusion

Link to complete text of Harris Beach Appeal

On July 14, 2016 the Ethics Board responded to the Harris Beach appeal in a letter to Ms. Yepsen.  The letter informed Ms. Yepsen that they did not find the Howard Beach arguments “persuasive” and reaffirmed their March 24, 2016 decision.  The full text of their response to the specifics of the Howard Beach memorandum can can be found here.

So after five and a half months the Ethics Board’s deliberations over this issue finally came to a close.

Paying The Piper

It was at this point that Ms. Yepsen finally came to the Council with the invoice from Howard Beach.  It was $12,300.00.  Commissioners Madigan and Scirocco objected to paying the bill.  They cited the pre-authorization requirement in the city charter which Ms. Yepsen had ignored.

The reality was, however, that Ms. Yepsen had incurred the liability by enlisting the attorneys on her behalf.  The city was vulnerable to being sued by the law firm which undeniably had performed their services. Any attempt to force Ms. Yepsen to take responsibility for the costs would only prolong this ugly episode. John Franck and Chris Mathiesen joined Mayor Yepsen in voting to pay the invoice. It is interesting that Ms. Yepsen did not recuse herself from voting on whether it was appropriate to pay a controversial bill that she had incurred.

The Vote To Censure

At its July 19th meeting, following the release of the Ethics Board’s decision, Commissioners Madigan, Matheisen, and Scirocco voted to censure Ms. Yepsen.   Commissioner Franck indicated that while he had no problem with the substance of the Ethics Board’s decision, he did not believe that Ms. Yepsen’s actions merited censure.  In the end, Commissioner Franck and Ms. Yepsen as Mayor, voted no. The possibility that Mayor Yepsen might have a conflict of interest in participating in this vote was not raised.

Through the course of the discussion on censure Mayor Yepsen was defiant.  She accused Mathiesen, Madigan, and Scirocco of ignoring the law (as interpreted by her attorneys).  She claimed in fact, that by censuring her they were in violation of the law.  She warned them there would be  potential “consequences”  of voting to censure her. She made emphatically clear that she disagreed with the decision of the Ethics Board.

The resolution to censure included language that the matter be referred to the New York State Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau and the New York State Joint Commission on  Public Ethics for possible wrong doing.

Commissioner Mathiesen commented that night that he saw no criminality here but that Mayor Yepsen had been guilty of extremely poor judgement which to me seems an accurate assessment of the situation.

The resolution to censure in its “be it resolved” portion had three elements. The first censures Mayor Yepsen specifically for her violation of the city’s Ethics Code. The second and third call for referring the Ethics Board decision to two state agencies that deal with corruption in government. It is important to note especially in light of what we will examine next in the TU’s description of this action that the resolution was to censure the Mayor for her violation of the city’s ethics code not for her recusal in the Hospital PUD vote.

While the Mayor’s actions perhaps did not rise to the level of criminality that would have indicated the need for an investigation by state agencies, the fact that she refused to give an inch regarding her culpability in spite of the fact that her own Ethics Board, made up of people she had appointed, had unanimously found her in violation drove the move to censure.  Her intransigence and inability to acknowledge her mistake demonstrated a deeply disturbing failure of character.

Mayor Yepsen Doubles Down

The night after the censure vote Ms. Yepsen was on Channel 10 and Channel 6 news attacking the Ethics Board’s decision.  Here are links to the news reports:

Here is the link to channel 6: http://cbs6albany.com/news/local/saratoga-springs-mayor-censured

Here is the link to channel 10: http://news10.com/2016/07/20/saratoga-mayor-fires-back-after-board-determines-she-violated-citys-code-of-ethics/

 

Father of Child Slain At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School To Speak on School Safety

[JK Press Release I received]

SARATOGA PARENTS FOR SAFER SCHOOLS 

TO HOST SCHOOL SAFETY FORUM ON MONDAY, OCT 28TH FROM 7-9:30PM AT THE SARATOGA HILTON WITH GUEST SPEAKER MAX SCHACHTER

For Immediate Release: September 27, 2019
Contact: Kara Rosettie, 518-879-4875

 

Saratoga Springs, NY  Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools announced that it will host a School Safety Forum with special guest speaker, Max Schachter.

 

Max Schachter is the father of Alex Schachter, one of the seventeen people tragically murdered during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre on February 14, 2018.

 

Max’s relentless advocacy to make schools safer for children culminated in his founding of the Safe Schools for Alex Foundation. 

 

Max partners with school districts and law enforcement agencies nationwide to evaluate and improve their existing safety protocols. 

 

He has testified before Congress, served as one of the fifteen commissioners for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, and regularly consults with state and federal officials on how to improve school security.  

 

“This event presents an opportunity for our community to learn from the mistakes made at Parkland and identify ways in which we can prevent a similar tragedy in Saratoga,” said Kara Rosettie, founder of Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools.

 

This event is FREE and open to the public. Registration is mandatory as seats are limited.

Here is a link to register: https://www.spfss.com/events

 

The event will be held at the Saratoga Hilton, 534 Broadway

###

About Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools 

As a result of the Saratoga Springs Board of Education Vote on October 9, 2018 to disarm the districts active and retired police officers working in a security capacity on school grounds, concerned parents formed Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools. SPFSS advocates for the reinstatement of historically proven security measures to protect students, faculty, and administration in the school district.

Website: www.spfss.com

Event Page: https://www.spfss.com/events/

FB Event Page:https://www.facebook.com/events/2106115289685011/

Max Schachter Bio: https://safeschoolsforalex.org/our-team/

Safe Schools for Alex: https://safeschoolsforalex.org/

 

A Peculiar Endorsement For Kendall Hicks

KendallHicksWomen

Kendall Hicks has been endorsed by Capital Women, the Women’s Political Action Committee of the Capital Region, in the race for Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner.

Their Facebook About page states:

CapitalWomen is a political action committee that works to get progressive candidates elected to state and local positions. We are based in the Capital District of NYS. We work on electoral and issues campaigns and organize for change.

It seems odd on a number of levels that they have endorsed Mr. Hicks.

One would assume that a group that is involved in encouraging and supporting women running for office would have been interested in at least interviewing Mr. Hicks’ female opponent, Robin Dalton, before making an endorsement. They did not.

They apparently were also not concerned that Mr. Hicks’ had been the subject of a police report involving an assault on a woman. Although charges were dropped against Mr. Hicks, the police report contains some disturbing details and raises some unanswered questions.

 

Capital Women–Who Are They?

Sources in Albany tell me Capital Women is primarily the creation of Libby Post.

Ms. Post runs a consulting firm that focuses on working with political campaigns.  Some readers may recognize her name from the WAMC morning show The Roundtable where she is a regular panelist along with Alan Chartock.  It is worth noting that it is possible that the candidates Capital Women endorse and contribute to may use Ms. Post’s consulting firm. 

Neither the website nor the Facebook page for Capital Women gives any information about the organization’s structure. JoAnn Smith and Kathryn Allen are identified as Team Members on the Facebook “About”  page and are described as “managing” Capital Women. Under contact information, Joanne Cole is identified as the Women’s Ministry Director. She has a page on the site where she writes “Gathering together and building community with others is God’s design and we are committed to providing opportunities for women to connect and grow with God and with one another.” She continues, “We believe in the great potential of every woman and together we can make our church and community a better place. ”  What she means by “our” church is not explained.

While Ms. Post’s name does not appear on the Facebook page or website of Capital Women, she was featured along with Joanne Yepsen and Tara Gaston in a March 1, 2018, feature Spectrum News did on the expansion of the group into Saratoga County.  After Ms. Yepsen and Ms. Post discussed the need to support progressive candidates in Saratoga County, the interviewer turned to Ms. Gaston who described how important this group had been in  her successful campaign for Saratoga County Supervisor. Readers of this blog may remember that in a recent post Ms. Gaston, in sharp contrast to Capital Women, announced she was withdrawing her support from Mr. Hicks

Ms. Yepsen has been an important supporter of Mr. Hicks from the beginning of his campaign.  She and Ellen Egger-Aimone, Hicks’ campaign manager,  accompanied Mr. Hicks when he met with the previous chair of the city Democratic Committee to explore their endorsement which did not happen.  The current Democratic Committee has declined to endorse him and passed a resolution supporting the #MeToo movement.

Capital Women has now endorsed two candidates in the upcoming Saratoga Springs  elections, Kendall Hicks for Commissioner of Public Safety and Patty Morrison who is running for Finance Commissioner and is also supported by Ms. Yepsen.  As in the case of Robin Dalton, Capital Women never interviewed Patty Morrison’s opponent, incumbent Michele Madigan. Capital Women gave Ms. Morrison $1,000 in her race in the Democratic primary against Ms. Madigan.

While Capital Women have an online application for endorsements and contributions, there is little to describe who decides endorsements and how candidates are selected and funded. Capital Women’s opaque endorsement process seems  to be more about who you know than who is best qualified.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner And Others Drop Support for Kendall Hicks Campaign

Statement From Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner:

“As a state legislator who represents thousands of people living in Saratoga and Washington Counties, I feel that it is my responsibility to make it very clear that I am unequivocally opposed to any and all violence perpetrated against women.

 

The photograph that has come under scrutiny of myself and Mr. Kendall Hicks was taken prior to any of the information regarding his past domestic violence allegations being disclosed. From this point forward as a matter of protocol I will be doing a more strenuous vetting of candidates who are seeking to use my likeness to promote their candidacies.  

 

Please know that I have limited detail related to the incident in question and will not weigh in on a matter I have no direct knowledge of. However, I am comfortable stating that running for public office is not for everybody. When you decide to seek public office, the electorate has the right to know about your personal background and the media has a duty to inform the the public.

 

I have decided not to endorse in the race for Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Safety”

 

Carrie Woerner

 


From County Supervisor Tara Gaston’s Facebook Page

 


 


From Dillon Moran who is running for Commissioner Of Public Works [In Picture from left to right: Patty Morrison, Dillon Moran, Kendall Hicks, and Ellen Egger-Aimone]

 


Commissioner Madigan Does It Again: A Proposed 2020 Budget With No Tax Increase

[JK: I received this press release from the Finance Office. This will be the eighth consecutive budget with no tax increase]

TAX DECREASE for the City of Saratoga Springs in Proposed 2020 City Budget

 

There will be an average property tax rate decrease of 0.05% for City taxpayers in the coming year under the proposed 2020 Saratoga Springs City Budget presented at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting on October 1, 2019 by Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan.  This is the eighth City budget that Commissioner Madigan has put forth with a decreased or stable property tax rate. The proposed 2020 tax rates are: inside districts – $6.0707 per $1,000 of assessed property value; outside district – $6.0090 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

As Finance Commissioner, Madigan is charged with taking input from each department and creating a balanced annual budget, one that has sufficient estimated revenues to meet all expenses.  Madigan states: “The 2020 Comprehensive Budget is driven by my continued commitment to a stable tax rate in the face of the rising costs of good government, unexpected expenses, and the New York State property tax cap.”

The City’s proposed general operating budget will be $48.2 million under Madigan’s plan, an increase of $1.1 million over the adopted 2019 budget. Contractual wage increases, additional funding for information technology, increased commodity costs, and health insurance accounts for much of the year-over-year change.  Personnel and benefits are up 1.9% and 2.5% in 2020, respectively.

Commissioner Madigan’s 2020 presentation will focus on several of the priorities facing the City, including the successful renovation of City Hall, the creation of an East Side Fire & EMS Station, improvements to the Loughberry Lake Dam, increased support to the City’s cyber-security efforts, additional staffing to the Police and Fire departments, a comprehensive plan to address the City’s expanding trail network, and a long-term solution to address the City’s homelessness issue, including a Code Blue facility.

The main revenue sources supporting the operating budget remain largely the same as 2019, with property tax and sales tax representing over 60% of the City’s total revenue, followed by departmental income and State/Federal aid, which make up 10.2% and 9.2% of the revenue budget respectively.

The 2020 Budget counts both reserve funds and fund balance among its revenue resources.  Madigan states, “The City has built these funds up with taxpayer dollars; using them to maintain a stable property tax rate is the best way to utilize these funds. Essentially we are giving these dollars directly back to the taxpayer in order to maintain taxes and services.” Amounts supporting the general operating budget include funds from unassigned fund balance ($1.9M) and the Retirement Reserve.  “With no new or existing revenue source able to completely offset the significant increases in wages and other expense, the use of reserves and fund balance is wholly appropriate. Reserves have been funded with taxpayer dollars.  Taxpayers deserve to use these reserves rather than pay more taxes or receive diminished services, especially when we expect to continue to maintain adequate reserve balances subsequent to the budget being adopted,” says Commissioner Madigan.

Two budget workshops are currently scheduled: Tuesday, October 22nd and Thursday October 24th, both at 5:00pm and at the Recreation Center. Certain dates are designated for specific departments, with time allotted at each workshop for general discussion after departments are finished. There will also be a Public Comment period at each workshop. Additional workshops may be scheduled as needed.

Commissioner Madigan points out that the City is in excellent financial health under her administration.  The City’s bond rating was recently affirmed by Standard & Poor’s as “AA+” with a “stable outlook”.  S&P noted that their rating reflects the City’s “strong management”, “strong budgetary performance”, and “very strong budgetary flexibility”.

The complete 2020 Comprehensive Budget proposal will be available on the City’s website subsequent to Commissioner Madigan’s presentation: www.saratoga-springs.org

Saratoga Hospital Repurposes Sears Space At Wilton Mall: Thinking Outside The Box

[JK: As the internet challenges the retail industry many of us fear decaying malls as a scar on our landscape. This is an interesting release that offers some insight about the issues of space and geography facing our local hospital]

N E W S   R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 1, 2019

Saratoga Hospital Leases Former Sears Space at Wilton Mall

Yet another strategic effort to meet the growing need for critical care services

on Church Street campus

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, October 1, 2019—Saratoga Hospital is leasing more than 56,000 square feet at Wilton Mall to free much-needed space for patient care on the main hospital campus.

The lease, with mall owner and operator Macerich (NYSE:MAC), reflects Saratoga Hospital’s long-term strategic plan to dedicate its Church Street campus to services that must be provided in a hospital setting—the only place where patients have 24/7 access to intensive and emergency care, constant monitoring, and a highly skilled medical team.

Information systems and other support functions will be the first to move from the hospital campus to the mall space previously occupied by Sears. As departments relocate, hospital space will be reconfigured to meet the desperate need for more inpatient rooms and services that require the capabilities only a hospital can provide.

“Like many hospitals that were built before cities grew around them, we are almost out of room on our hospital campus,” said Angelo Calbone, Saratoga Hospital president and CEO. “To best serve our growing community, we must find ways to reserve space at the hospital for care that simply can’t be provided anywhere else.

“Virtually every Saratoga Hospital facility-related decision reflects that priority,” he added. “This innovative and strategic leasing arrangement is yet another example.”

In recent years, the hospital has moved outpatient services to campuses in Wilton and Malta. In fact, the Wilton Mall space is ideal in part because of its location. The mall is across the street from Saratoga Hospital’s Wilton campus, which is home to primary and urgent care, medical imaging, eye care, breast health services, same-day surgery, and other healthcare services that can be provided equally well in non-hospital environments.

“We are very pleased to welcome this concept to our established retail property in Wilton,” said Mike Shaffer, senior manager, property management, Wilton Mall. “This repurposing of the former Sears space for hospital support functions represents a forward-thinking adaptive reuse of retail space.

“Employees working in the new hospital facility can enjoy the range of amenities our property has to offer—from great food and top shopping options to free Wi-Fi and easy parking,” he added. “This really is a win for everyone involved.”

Calbone agrees. “This is a wonderful case of two organizations coming together and creating health and economic advantages for the community,” he said.

Saratoga Hospital expects to move staff and services to the mall in phases. Currently, work is underway to convert the first 10,000 to 20,000 square feet for offices for support staff and to determine the best use of the remaining space.

“One of the advantages of the mall location is that it gives us the room and flexibility we need in two key locations,” Calbone said. “We can dedicate the hospital campus to critical, care-related services, while meeting other needs at a convenient, easily accessible location.”

 

***

 

About Saratoga Hospital: Saratoga Hospital is the Saratoga region’s leading healthcare provider and the only acute-care facility in Saratoga County. The hospital’s multispecialty practice, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, provides care at more than 20 locations, ensuring easy access to programs and services that can have the greatest impact on individual and community health. Saratoga Hospital has maintained Magnet designation for nursing excellence since 2004. Through its affiliation with Columbia Memorial Health and Albany Med, Saratoga Hospital is part of the largest locally governed health system in region. For more information: www.saratogahospital.org or www.facebook.com/SaratogaHospital.

About Wilton Mall:  Serving the Saratoga Springs community, Wilton Mall features a wide selection of retail, dining and entertainment offerings. These include HomeGoods, Old Navy, Bow-Tie Cinemas and Healthy Living Market and Café, plus dozens of shops and food experiences. For a complete listing of retailers, dining choices and events, visit http://www.wiltonmall.com.

About Macerich: Macerich, an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of regional malls throughout the United States.

Macerich currently owns 51 million square feet of real estate consisting primarily of interests in 47 regional shopping centers. Macerich specializes in successful retail properties in many of the country’s most attractive, densely populated markets with significant presence on the West Coast and in Arizona, Chicago and the Metro New York to Washington, D.C. corridor. A recognized leader in sustainability, Macerich has earned Nareit’s prestigious “Leader in the Light” award every year from 2014-2018. For the fifth straight year in 2018 Macerich achieved the #1 GRESB ranking in the North American Retail Sector, among many other environmental accomplishments. Additional information about Macerich can be obtained from the Company’s website at www.macerich.com