Tag Archives: starting a business in Dickinson North Dakota

Old St. Joseph’s Hospital In Dickinson To Be Used For Mental Health Services

On February 1st, I read an article in the Dickinson Press Newspaper about the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson being purchased and renovated, to be used as a location for Mental Health Services.

The buyer of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital property is a man named Andres Mejia, who is currently employed at the new St. Alexius Hospital in Dickinson as their director of risk management and quality.  I wasn’t certain that Andres Mejia was going to be the actual owner of the property, or if he was acting as an agent for some branch of Catholic Health Initiatives.

I looked up Andres Mejia in Dickinson, and I read that in August of 2018, Mejia Property Management LLC was registered in North Dakota with Andres Leonardo Mejia-Fuentes listed as the agent, and his home address was used, so this does appear to be a personal undertaking of Andres Mejia, not Catholic Health Initiatives.

I believe that Andres Mejia was led to believe that if he created a space for Mental Health Services in Dickinson, that the Federal Government, North Dakota State Government, Southwest North Dakota Health Services, Catholic Health Initiatives, corporate medical group health care providers, and private practice health care providers would all participate in providing funds and paying rents, because there is a huge gap in Mental Health Services in southwest North Dakota.

Andres Mejia may believe that it is almost certain, that if he purchased the old St. Joseph’s Hospital, performed the necessary renovations, and subdivided the space at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital according to what each health care provider tenant required, that the rents he received and the appreciating value of the property would make him successful in the long run.

When I read the headline and the first paragraph of the Dickinson Press Newspaper article about this plan, I had a great deal of doubt that this was a good idea.  I began to think about what would happen to me if I tried to do this, even if I was able to purchase the old St. Joseph’s Hospital for just $1.

If I started out by purchasing the old St. Joseph’s Hospital for just $1, with this property sitting vacant like it is right now, here is what I estimate my ownership costs would be:

  • Yearly property taxes………………………………………….$5,000
  • Yearly insurance for property damage & liability……………$5,000
  • Yearly electric costs, heating in Winter……………………….$12,000
  • Snow removal and grounds maintenance…………………….$5,000
  • Interior routine maintenance……………………………………$1,000

Subtotal  $28,000 per year, while vacant

With an old building like this, you could expect to have to have to perform roof, plumbing, window, or heating repairs:

Add $10,000 for normal repairs per year, while vacant

Because I am not Catholic, and this is Dickinson, I could be sure that the Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, the Health Department, and local contractors would all get together at their Knights of Columbus meetings to come up with a plan to try to financially break me which would include:

  • Citations for asbestos, asbestos contamination, and required removal.
  • Citations for lead paint, lead paint contamination, and lead paint removal.
  • Citations for mold, black mold, mold contamination, and remediation.
  • Citations for elevator, and elevator required retrofitting.
  • Citations for fire escape, and fire escape required retrofitting.
  • Citations for electrical, plumbing, and boiler not being up to code and required renovation.

For me, there would never be an end to the Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, Health Department, Property Tax Appraiser, other Government officials, and local contractors trying to come up with schemes to financially break me:

Add another $2 million, for the cost of Corruption in Dickinson

To top everything off, if I had personally purchased the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson, for even just $1, I would probably not be able to find a buyer who was willing to pay me $1 for it, because of the awareness of the ownership costs that I listed up above.  If I did sell it, I would probably later be sued by the buyer for non-disclosure of my knowledge that the building was haunted.

Even if Andres Mejia didn’t face the $2 million cost of every Government Official in Dickinson trying to find something wrong with this building and force him to correct it, what if the owner of the large new vacant retail building in the Menards shopping area suddenly makes a large donation to Catholic Health Initiatives, and they start liking him and his new building, more than they like Andres Mejia and his old building?

What if Andres Mejia begins making renovations to the old St. Joseph’s Hospital building, spending several hundred thousand dollars, and meanwhile there is a change in leadership at Catholic Health Initiatives, Southwest North Dakota Health Services, or a corporate health care provider that had previously stated verbally that they were committed to occupying his building once the renovations were completed?

What if Governor Doug Burgum shows up suddenly out of no-where, and convinces the Federal Government, North Dakota State Government, Southwest North Dakota Health Services, corporate health care groups, and private practice health care providers that Bismarck is more centrally located and more easily reachable by everyone in North Dakota?

I would not want to be in Andres Mejia’s position.  The cost of ownership of this old building is high, and it is to be expected that there will be expensive routine repairs needed, even when this building is vacant.  There is also the potential that the Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, Health Department, and local contractors could financially ruin this project and Andres Mejia by creating renovation costs that will never be able to be recovered or overcome.

There is also no guarantee that the verbal enthusiasm Andres Mejia has heard about creating a health care facility to provide treatment for Mental Health, Drug Addiction, and Rehabilitation will materialize into anyone actually becoming a tenant.

Andres Mejia may have had good intentions, but hardly anyone else in Dickinson does.  Dickinson is an area where people have so little opportunity to get ahead, that they have become accustomed to helping other people to fail so that no one else can get ahead either.  In particular, they like to encourage people to buy property here, spend money to make improvements on the property, financially ruin them, then scoop up their recently improved properties for very little money after they have financially bankrupted them.

Mental Health Services that could soon be offered in Dickinson:

The Tragedy Of Dave’s Auto Repair In Dickinson, North Dakota

I am a big believer in taking Fords to the Ford Dealer, Dodges to the Dodge Dealer, and Toyotas to the Toyota Dealer.  The mechanics in each of these dealerships have worked on hundreds of F150s, Ram 1500s, and Toyota trucks.  These mechanics have done the repair that you need on your particular model vehicle, dozens of times.  They know the easy way to do it, without damaging anything else, and the additional parts that can’t help being damaged that will have to be replaced too.

I also like the fact that service departments which are part of a car dealership have so much assets, that if a repair is ever done incorrectly which requires it to be redone or results in damage to your vehicle, they can afford to redo the repair or compensate you for the damage done to your vehicle.  They practically have to handle an incorrect repair in the most customer friendly way in order to maintain a good overall reputation.

I estimate that in the past six years in Dickinson, North Dakota, I have spent $2,000 at the Ford Dealer, $1,500 at the Dodge Dealer, and $1,200 at the Toyota Dealer getting vehicle repairs done.  The work was done well or just O.K., but it was expensive.

My Ford F150 for instance, the heater core had a hole in it, and the entire dashboard needed to be removed in order to replace the heater core.  A repair garage in Idaho, and the Ford Dealer in Dickinson both read to me the man-hour estimate for removing and reinstalling the entire dashboard, and it was something like eight hours.  Because of the large number of hours, and the high hourly shop rate at the Ford Dealer in Dickinson, this repair cost me about $1,200.

My Dodge 1500 for instance, the headlight switch quit working.  The Dodge Dealer mechanic said that he had done this light switch repair many times, and that it wasn’t just a matter of replacing this switch, the wiring harness plug for this switch was notorious for melting, and he was able to show me on my truck that this wiring harness plug had in fact melted.  In order to splice on a new wiring plug onto the wiring harness, it required the dashboard to be removed and reinstalled, and this repair cost me $500 due to the amount of man-hours and the high hourly shop rate at the Dodge Dealer in Dickinson.

At the Toyota Dealer Service Department in Dickinson, not only did I look at their nice looking women employees in their service department, and their nice looking customer women who were waiting for their vehicles to be repaired or serviced, I wrote about it.  I may not be very welcome in the Toyota Dealership Service Department in Dickinson, so for this reason, and for the reason of the car dealership service departments being so expensive, I needed to find a good, less expensive, independent mechanic in Dickinson.

In the past several years in Dickinson, a few local people had recommended Dave’s Auto Repair to me.  This repair garage is located behind Runnings, in the same building as the car wash, which has the large sign that reads “Four Seasons Auto”.  I had stopped at this garage once before when they had a Lexus for sale.  It was an inexpensive Lexus, but the paint on the hood, roof, and trunk had its clear coat worn away, and the paint was beginning to oxidize, and at the time I needed a nicer looking vehicle with no oxidized paint.

About a year ago, the engine oil pressure gauge quit working most of the time on my Dodge 1500 truck.  This didn’t bother me too much, because there was still a low oil pressure warning light that was separate from the oil pressure gauge.  Three months ago, 35 miles into my drive on the way to work, the low oil pressure warning light came on in my Dodge 1500 truck.  I pulled off the side of the road, added one quart of engine oil, started the truck, and the low oil pressure warning light did not come back on for the rest of the drive to work.

In the following days, the low oil pressure warning light on my Dodge 1500 truck came on, and stayed on.  Me, and two of my co-workers doubted that there was no oil pressure in this truck, my two co-workers said that it was most likely a bad oil pressure sensor sending unit.  One of my co-workers who I had worked with for almost a year, who was very practical, level headed, and cheap, recommended Dave’s Auto Repair in Dickinson very highly.  He said that he had been taking all of his vehicles, even his new vehicles to Dave’s Auto Repair for the past fifteen years.

My co-worker explained to me that Dave, the owner, did the work, along with his two sons.  He said that Dave was very honest, and very reasonable on the cost of car repairs.  In a few days I went and met Dave to make an appointment to have my Dodge 1500 engine oil pressure tested, and then replace the oil pressure sensor sending unit if it was faulty.

When the work was done on my Dodge 1500 truck in approximately August of 2018, Dave’s son did the repair, and I talked to him a little bit when I came to pick up my truck and pay for the repair which cost about $150.  I had met Dave’s son a couple of years ago when I went there to see about the Lexus which they had for sale.  This repair to my Dodge truck was fine, it didn’t cost that much, and I liked Dave and his son.  I planned on getting a lot more work done at Dave’s Auto Repair, especially getting the front drive shaft CV joints and seals replaced on this Dodge 1500 truck.

In September, I believe it was, I was getting my hair cut in a barber shop, when a young man came in and said to the barber that he had to get his van off of the garage property by the end of the day, because they were having an auction at the garage the following day.  The barber asked this young man if he was buying his father’s tools, and this young man said something like he would have bought them prior to the auction or he didn’t want to bid on them at the auction, because he wanted the auction to bring as much money as possible.

I thought about what this young man and the barber were talking about, it seemed like this young man’s family’s repair garage or service company was unexpectedly going out of business, which was very sad, because this young man was employed at this business.  He might have expected to own and operate this business one day, or be employed there for the rest of his life, but that wasn’t going to happen now.

After he left, I asked the barber what was going on, and he said that Dave’s Auto Repair was closing, and that they were auctioning off all of their tools and equipment.  I misunderstood what the barber said, because I thought that there was no way that the repair garage that I had just gone to was going out of business.  I said, you are not talking about Dave’s Auto Repair behind Runnings, at the car wash?  And the barber replied, that yes he was.

I couldn’t believe this, what were Dave and his two sons going to do now?  Hadn’t he been in business at that location for something like twenty years?  I telephoned my co-worker who had recommended this garage, who had been taking all of his vehicles there for fifteen years.  My co-worker said that he and a bunch of people that he knew asked Dave what was going on.  My co-worker heard from his friends, that the owner of the building where Dave had his garage, had told Dave that he was going to triple his rent.  Dave supposedly said to the owner of this building, that there was no way that he could make enough money to stay in business if he tripled his rent, so that he would have to close his business.

I was very sorry to hear this, and my co-worker said that he and his friends were all going to go over to the owner of this building where he lived and drag him out of his house, but Dave would not tell them where he lived.  This is very, very typical and well known in Dickinson, that the greed of the property owners is so great, that they expect successful business owners to hand over most of their money to them, so that as business owners they would be left with about $10 per hour to pay themselves.

Now Dickinson no longer has one of the most honest and reasonable independent repair garages in town.  Dave no longer has the satisfaction and freedom of being self employed, running his own business, and providing a good place to work for his two sons.  His two sons no longer have the pride, security, and future of working in a successful family run business.  All because of the evil greed of the property owners in Dickinson.