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The Monsour deal

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Sunday, May 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Following yet another fire at the dilapidated hospital property they abandoned seven years ago, the family Monsour, through Westmoreland Priority LLC — made up of Monsours and which holds $35 million in debt on the property — has agreed to turn over everything to Jeannette to expedite demolition.

How nice. Of course, this latest turn of the screw comes at the taxpayers' expense, assuming the legal mess entangling the property can be cleaned up.

Even with the bond transfer from Westmoreland Priority, if it goes through, public money will be needed to demolish the Monsour Medical Center, says Jeannette's attorney, Scott Avolio. Then there are property liens imposed by the IRS and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. that have to be cleared.

Why aren't the property's rightful owners getting their feet held to this latest fire? For one reason, because the hospital's deteriorating tower would probably come crumbling down on Route 30 in the time it would take to sort out this mess.

Questions about the property's disposition should have been resolved within months, not years, after the hospital's closure. Given the medical center's abysmal financial history, that's abundantly clear.

Instead, the hospital closed without issue or investigation. Those responsible walked away. And a city without the means to drain this swamp is left to own it.

That's the legacy that bears the Monsour name — and which the family now is content to seal.

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