Murphysboro, IL mayor questions rehab facility legitimacy

Company never shows to start rehab center in Murphysboro

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - North of Murphysboro, Illinois sits a large, vacant facility on 14th Street that used to be known as Jackson County Rehab & Care Center or a nursing home for decades.

According to Murpysboro Mayor Will Stephens, in 2015, Sovereign Health Group bought the building from Jackson County for $365,000 to turn it into a drug and rehabilitation facility. However, today, Mayor Stephens questions the legitimacy of the business.

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Stephens explained how the businesses lack of progress affects the city.

"It hurt us…it's really hurting us that they are not fulfilled the obligations that they put forth at the beginning," he said.

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said the new facility was supposed to house a promising new business for the town, saying they are "guilty until proven innocent."

"There's too much smoke for their not to be a fire here," he continued. "And as mayor, it's my job not just to be reactive to problems but to try to see things proactively…and from a proactive perspective, I think we are going to really have to keep a close eye on whats going on there."

According to Jackson County Treasury Department, the company paid its 2015 back taxes in 2017, but it is not clear what they might still owe in taxes.

However, at the early part of negotiations in 2015, there was an agreement to put up a fence between the facility and the residential homes and school for security measures according to the mayor.

Stephens said the company that's cutting the grass has notified him that they are not receiving payment.

The mayor questions the company's legitimacy.

"First thing I noticed was their offices were raided by the FBI in California…since then I've read other news reports that say they are closing facilities and consolidating facilities…so this doesn't really paint a bright picture of the future for that particular company," he said.

Stephens said he anticipated more than 100 jobs and a vibrant building because that's what the company promised.

The mayor still has hope and would like to see the business start up and operate, he just wishes they will communicate with him.

"Initially there was certainly some positive movement forward and that's what makes the current situation so disappointing," he said.

However, he said if it comes to it he will recruit to find another business to take over the facility.

Neighbors in the area say they are also keeping a watchful eye on the vacant facility. No one from Sovereign Health has responded to the attempts at calls.

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