Graphic: (click to enlarge)

While we sit around in Sux Falls and have fairy plum dreams about Sanford, REAL journalists, at REAL newspapers, write REAL stories about Sanford;

Swanson, whose office regulates charitable hospitals and other nonprofits, called the naming rights deals and sports investments a concern.

“The extraneous spending by Sanford Health seems inconsistent with a charitable hospital’s mission of delivering high-quality patient care at the lowest cost,” she said.


By l3wis

53 thoughts on “An article you WON’T see in the Argus Leader”
  1. Dave Knudson working for T. Denny and Sanford Hospital at the same time is a ‘Wonderful Coincidence.’

    Where do they cook this shit up? It’s like watching an episode of ‘Breaking Bad.’

  2. Add up what appear to be permanent changes to Sioux Falls since Sanford and Krabbenhoft showed up in town. Each are salesmen selling a bill of goods. They are outsiders who once again put on a spit shine show to fleece the gullible.

    When both of these men are gone, we will have to suffer the legacies. Look what it has done to the political structure of the state. Consider what has happened to the financial structure or should we consider it a ponzi scheme? We have a mayor who is part of this money magic act. There are school board members who study business growth and management at the feet of these two men to perform their duties. Or could all be doing their marching orders?

    The local newspaper who would never come close to writing the Tribune article because it might cost advertising revenue. The TV and radio stations in town would never report on these questionable issues because of the interlocking relationships existing. Look at where the newsreaders and salespeople go to work once they have opened up personal connections.

    Look at the names mentioned in the article and consider the legacy of names we will have to deal with in the future because of the fortunes in money and connection these families are establishing.

  3. Testor, right on. Somebody else gets it. More would if public media did their job. The Argus is history. They’re sending salesmen door to door to test for ads only. In desperation, they’re trying to copy Shopping News. TV networks lack content and advertisers are using cable channels. They will eventually become cable stations. In the future, propagation channel 16 will become the only local news. It’s become important for blogs and billboards to expose the corruption and present the truth. Cudos to Lewis for developing and servicing this site.

  4. They left out T. Denny’s contributions to the Children’s Home Society – Governor Doo guard’s former employer.

    Then again – he has given away nearly a billion $$$ to various causes – primarily having to do with children’s health and welfare.

    Balance people – balance.

  5. Since Heil Huether, the bank the city uses is First Premier. The city budget is $330 million/year for a population of 150k. The Vatican budget is $320 million/year for 150 million catholics. Huether’s damage is 1 billion over 3 years with half a billion in debt. Downtown is looking up but there’s new slums all around that makes it not safe at night. I didn’t feel any better off from Munson. Huether is much worse. He’s enslaved citizens building pyramid schemes for Sanford. Some day democracy will return. I look foward to roping the Sanford statue and pulling it over much like the Saddam statue when Iraq was liberated.

  6. Did I just read someone comparing the city budget to the budget for the Vatican? Seriously?

    Come on Dan… when the Vatican starts paying for streets and sewers and parks for those 150M Catholics you may have a fair comparison.

    That said… it is probably a bad time to inform you that worldwide there are actually around 1.2B (yes Billion) Catholics, and many other non-Catholic Christians still consider the Pope their unofficial leader. The number really doesn’t matter however, because the Vatican is a city-state which operates based upon a dual purpose. Number one, they essentially exist for the benefit of the Pope and the leaders of the Catholic church. Number two, they maintain and manage the city itself, which is home to less than 1,000 residents.

    Of course I have no idea where your $320M figure came from in the first place – so I’m probably wasting my time trying to justify the numbers here.

  7. “They are outsiders who once again put on a spit shine show to fleece the gullible.”

    As someone who, like many of your city’s white collar workers, came here from elsewhere, I’ll never stop shaking my head at this sort of parochial attitude that so often rears its head in this town. I don’t really have an opinion on this issue, other than that without Denny Sanford your town would look a heck of a lot more like Sioux City.

    Whether it’s the efforts to revitalize downtown, Falls Park, the Pavilion, the State Theatre, the arena, it seems like so much of what most people in most cities would consider great urban progress has to be accomplished here over the xenophobic wishes of so many crotchety, small-minded locals who just wish Sioux Falls could go back to being a two-stoplight cowtown. South Dakota for real South Dakotans! A testament to your state’s otherwise backwards, resource-dependent nineteenth-century economy!

    It’s perfectly fair to explore the relationship between Sanford and First Premier and to ask tough questions. But to tag on to Rufus’ comment, a rational person could probably also recognize that a guy doesn’t give a billion dollars in exchange for using his bill collecting service, or hiring his attorney, or stationing two workers at what amounts to a human ATM in the hospital lobby. If that’s the case, T. Denny Sanford is a lousy businessman, which would seem to contradict the evidence otherwise available to us.

  8. “I don’t really have an opinion on this issue, other than that without Denny Sanford your town would look a heck of a lot more like Sioux City.”

    That’s a bit of a stretch. T. Denny has put his name on a few buildings and has a rather large credit card operation, but honestly he hasn’t really changed much. Even back when Sanford was still Sioux Valley they still went out of their way to put their name on anything and everything possible.

    On the whole, Mr. Sanford’s contribution helped Sanford Health grow faster – and most certainly grow beyond the region much faster than they would have otherwise. But I really don’t feel he drastically altered the Sioux Falls landscape. After all – we still have other hospitals, we still have other credit card companies, and we still have many other wealthy people that like to put their name on buildings.

    I will agree that the whole “donate $600M to a healthcare organization and in return get a few small contracts and access to put a branch in the hospital lobby” is nothing more than a distraction. Like it or not, First Premier is a large player in the area, and it isn’t like Citibank or Wells Fargo would have any desire to handle collections for a hospital, so to see those two companies linked isn’t the least bit shocking to me.

    I don’t agree with Denny’s philosophy of predatory lending just to make an extra buck that can then be donated, but I also don’t believe he has any ulterior motives for his donations other than defining his own legacy. I doubt he gives a second thought to the potential business that he could get as a result.

  9. He is just trying to buy his way to heaven while Kelby helps pave his own road to Hell. Hornguy may have a point about how our city may be ‘better off’ but I know I am better off then I was 5 years ago, but not because of Sanford, Lloyd or any other yahoo, but because of working hard and finally managing my debt. I think that OVER 50% of this community has been ‘unchanged’ by the contributions of Sanford, and to be quite honest with you, I get tired of people defending a man who steals from the poor to give to the rich.

  10. Taking over the bill collection service at the hospital is a pretty lucrative deal for Denny. Don’t think his “gift” was just for the goodwill.

  11. I should be clear that I’m not necessarily condoning some of the tactics that have allowed the financial services industry to be so successful here. It’s a little unsavory. But unless one wishes to be self-loathing about this community’s growth and improvement, one does have to come to terms with the fact that South Dakota’s repeal of usury laws has been an absolute boon for the progress of Sioux Falls in particular. We can’t divorce one from the other.

    I’m certainly not attributing all that is good to Mr. Sanford. But it’s also fair to say that there are a whole lot of very nice, secure jobs with comfortable five and six-figure incomes that exist because of his investments in the community. I believe the original number floated in terms of direct/indirect job creation at the time of his donation to Sioux Valley was 9,200. In any case, it’s probably more than any one private business or individual has done to fuel economic growth in the region in pretty much ever.

    It never ceases to amaze me that a billionaire gives so much of his fortune away and people are constantly grumbling about what an awful predicament that is. Haters gonna hate, I guess. At least the guy is investing it in the community and doing something for the greater good and not buying 500-foot yachts or islands in the South Pacific.

    Finally, anyone who wishes to eschew that comparison to Sioux City might be wise to study up. You guys were the same place 40 years ago. If anything, Sioux City was better off. Now it’s not even close. And Sioux Falls has won on virtually every measure, in large part because of the explosive growth of the financial services and health care sectors.

  12. I never realized (before moving to South Dakota) that two neighboring states could be so different in politics, backroom deals and the ways that they are reported. The Argus doesn’t really do any investigative journalism, hides controversy. The StarTribune? That’s their bread and butter. In Minnesota when we have some kind of “deal” it is very much scrutinized and is very public.

    Yeah Sioux Falls has some prosperity. But there are a lot of low-buck low education jobs too. As an IT person I couldn’t find anything that paid much more than fast food wages. So I left. I DID enjoy Sioux Falls – met a lot of great people, found a lot of neat restaurants/bars/coffee shops. But at the end of the day I couldn’t pay the bills.

  13. (Joke): What happens when someone moves from South Dakota to Minnesota?

  14. Their calendar moves forward twenty years?

    Muqhtar, in fairness you’re really comparing apples and oranges. There aren’t many Gannett papers that do a sensational job with investigative journalism. A lot of that has to do with the precarious financial position of print journalism in small and medium-sized communities. As Sioux Falls goes, biting the hand of Sanford, Avera, the banks, etc. doesn’t come without some consequence. And it’s not like one could reasonably expect the citizens of Sioux Falls to start upping their subscriptions and paying more for the paper to compensate any economic loss that comes from biting the hand that presently feeds the paper.

    The Star Tribune, meanwhile, has a circulation about seven times larger and serves as the newspaper of record for about six million people. They’ve also got another major daily in town to keep them honest.

    The increased role of the citizen watchdog is just one of the many trends we’ve seen in journalism, especially in smaller cities like this one. You’re more likely to find solid investigative work on a blog like this one than in the Argus most days. It’d be great if that weren’t the case, but in terms of that continuum between newspaper-as-community-cheerleader and newspaper-as-community-watchdog, many papers have creeped toward the cheerleader end of the spectrum because it’s economically safer.

  15. They also left out the nugget about how Sanford has signed the Giving Pledge, along with the likes of Gates & Buffet. The man hasn’t even given half of his fortune away yet.

    AG Swanson is scoring political points, but isn’t doing her State any favors. Fairview was at the table for a reason and Mayo is threatening to expand out of MN if they don’t get a huge subsidy from the State to expand there…who do they think they are, the friggin’ Vikings?

    So the table’s set for several small to mid-size hospitals over in MN (and elsewhere) to disappear if they don’t partner up with someone like Sanford Health, who hasn’t yet even touched the donation. Meanwhile, they are projecting a $1 billion State Budget deficit this year over in St. Paul, so good luck with that one Minnesota.

  16. and L3wis, one of the reasons we have such low unemployment here is directly related to both the credit card and health care sectors. You can bitch about those jobs all you want but a huge number of people who buy your art or tip you at a restaurant have $$ in their pocket to do so thanks in part to TDS, either directly or indirectly. Your “over 50%” talking point needs to go back up your arse because no one who’s sane is buying it.

  17. and hornguy is spot on. Most places would kill to have a Sanford type benefactor and most places need it a hell of a lot more than we do. Denny doesn’t give a rip what those who are cheering for his or his company’s demise think, write or say..he’s going to do his thing and his money will go where it’s appreciated. A vast majority of people in this town understand that which is why we aren’t done seeing him invest or donate here.

  18. Scott: “Taking over the bill collection service at the hospital is a pretty lucrative deal for Denny.”

    Perhaps, but annually it probably equates to less than a percent of the $600M he donated to Sanford Health, so unless he was planning for a 250 year return on his investment that was pretty poor planning on his part. He could have taken his money – bought some low yield bonds – and made more money per year than he will make on the bill collecting or the First Premier branch in the lobby.

    I know people like to demonize the guy… but in this case the numbers don’t work. They might toss a bit of money his direction merely because to go elsewhere would be a slap in the face, but it isn’t about him making a return on his investment. That is the least of his concerns at this point.

    Sy: “Your “over 50%” talking point needs to go back up your arse because no one who’s sane is buying it.”

    Wait…. you are seriously suggesting over half of this city has been changed due to the actions of one man? Seriously?

    Hell if that is the case we should get to naming it Sanford Falls afterall… if the guy is really responsible for lifting half of this city skyward then we should be holding weekly parades in his honor.

    Get a grip – in the scope of things and unless you factor in the flow of dollars to the nth degree, most people are unaffected by his donations. Yes it did allow for some new jobs, yes it was a boon to the commercial construction industry, and yes it probably afforded some people the option of buying new homes or new cars and that money filters downward, but we also need to remember a lot of that money went outside of the region to new clinics and to expanding or merging elsewhere. To think one out of two Sioux Falls residents owes some level of gratitude for their personal position in life to Mr. Sanford isn’t giving people nearly enough credit for their hard work and life decisions.

    If you are going to seriously try to suggest such a thing, you may need to also factor in how many people were directly harmed by his predatory lending practices. I would argue that number far exceeds those who have benefited, because the benefits are concentrated upon far fewer people. The Sioux Falls area may have a net benefit merely because First Premier does business nationwide, but the impact to the nation as a whole is hardly as clear.

    The whole thing reminds of Walmart bragging about how they save the typical American family something like $1800 a year, but they fail to acknowledge the lost production jobs as a direct result of their Chinese imports, or the small town grocery stores and hardware stores and clothing stores that are forced to close when a Walmart is built within 50 miles of them. Like it or not, the net impact is often times a decrease when you look at the big picture – which probably helps explain the growing disparity between the rich and the poor and how since the 1970s the only group which has actually gained any level of wealth or increased standard of living has been those at the very top.

    Trickle down economics has never been proven to work. It won’t work with Denny donating millions and it won’t work with Walmarts on every corner. When we look at the economy in macro terms rather than micro terms, it is hard to make the argument that collecting wealth at the top and donating a portion to a select few ends up being a good thing.

  19. Sy – The CC companies and Hospitals in this town don’t pay diddly when compared to other parts of the country. Sure, they provide ‘jobs’ but who is really making money at these facilities?

    I have had 3 friends move away for greener pastures. 2 of them were RN’s (they make double and live in communities comparable to size as SF, and a better climate) The other is a radiologist and makes 3x what he could make in SF, he does live in CA so his cost of living is a little higher, but his standard of living is also much higher.

    We can go on and on about ‘jobs’ but let’s talk quality of these jobs. Trust me, my ‘tips’ reflect what people make in this community.

  20. @ Craig, you assume that all those people negatively impacted by their FPB Credit Card wouldn’t have been had they not had one, which is bunk. Denny didn’t force his card on anyone, and if they didn’t get their quick $500 from him they would’ve & could’ve just as easily gotten it from another source, legal or illegal. Blaming Denny for people’s own poor choices smacks of the same line of crap that the gun rights lobby is using….ie shut down Bushmaster and we’ll never see another shooting.

    And L3wis, over the last 20 years both the medical & CC companies have grown here dramatically, even during recessions. Their activity feeds all the other industries in town and those dollars recirculate through the local economy. Proof’s in the pudding, just look at the taxable sales, building permits, etc. For every 20 or so entry level jobs, they are hiring managers. For every 10 or so RNs they are hiring doctors and researchers. For every hundred they hire they need to add on or build a new spot and for every 1000 we get another national chain in town. All these people are building things, so if you don’t want to make $12 at a call center, learn carpentry & how to show up and you’ll soon be making closer to $15-20 an hour. Demographics suggest that people are moving here for opportunity at a much faster pace than they are moving away.

    As for your tips, they are also a reflection on your level of service and your attitude. Sure there’s cheapskates, even 1%er cheapskates, but there’s also people who pick up when someone’s got a chip on their shoulder and/or instantly doesn’t like them for whatever reason. Like it or not, the best people in service (ie highest earners) are the ones with the best assortment of “sales pitches” so to speak. Know when to kiss ass, know when to be funny, know when to flirt, know when to pull it back, know when to lay it on thick and don’t use the same pitch every time regardless of the customer. Otherwise you come off a canned and sythetic, which comes off as you are just going through the motions. Like it or not, you’re a salesman…copy what the best salesmen do or you will not make the impact with your customer that will lead them to A. tip B. tell their friends and C. come back.

  21. Well, Sy, I made twice as much money in tips 6-8 years ago, and I am a much better server now. Trust me, working at a franchise teaches you just what kind of salaries people are making in this town.

  22. I’ll have to stick up for DL on the tip thing. An uncle of mine worked in a small neighborhood tavern in Sausolito for many years. He regularly took in $50K a year – IN TIPS – from his 100-150 regular customers and the occasional tourist – he hates tourists – especially the English – cheapskates (well, compared to the native Marin county crowd that is). Totally a reflection of the income level of the customer – trust me, I know what his service level/style is – been there, been served.

  23. So Ruf, the question is why did your uncle make that much?

    Answer: He knocked it out of the park all the time, every time to where his “regulars” didn’t go anywhere else. I bet he knew all their first names and they knew his, and before their butt hit the seat their favorite libation was not only poured how they like, it was sitting there waiting for them.

    Seriously, you may not actually say “alright, what do you pain in the ass customers want now”, but your body languge will if that’s what you’re thinking.

  24. Sy: “you assume that all those people negatively impacted by their FPB Credit Card wouldn’t have been had they not had one, which is bunk. Denny didn’t force his card on anyone, and if they didn’t get their quick $500 from him they would’ve & could’ve just as easily gotten it from another source”

    Wait just a second. We are measuring real measureable impacts aren’t we? If we want to speak about hypotheticals, we could also assume had Denny not donated his $600M, that others would have (in smaller amounts obviously) or Sioux Valley would have grown on their own organically. All those new jobs would have happened eventually with or without the “gift”, or maybe Sioux Valley would have merged with another health system and grown even faster.

    Your argument reminds of the predatory payday lending lobbyists who claim if they didn’t exist people would be visiting loan sharks that charge even higher rates. The problem is, statistics don’t bear that out. In areas that have more strict usury laws and in the case of our military enacting the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) which specifically prohibits such lending to members of our military, we don’t see Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines running down to their local loan shark asking for $100%, 200%, or even 800% APR loans.

    Instead, they make better decisions because they are forced to. They use more traditional banking services and in some cases they opt to not buy that car they can’t afford or taking out a secured loan against property they care enough about to keep them making the payments. This helps put them in a better financial state than they would have been if the SRCA didn’t exist. There is an education component, and there is the “you really don’t need any more SWAG so step away from the gold chain because your ass is broke” component. They might not like it – but they are better off for it.

    Bottom line – someone using the “if I didn’t do it someone else would” line is nonsense, and surely doesn’t remove all culpability.

    “Blaming Denny for people’s own poor choices smacks of the same line of crap that the gun rights lobby is using….ie shut down Bushmaster and we’ll never see another shooting.”

    Slightly different case and I’ll explain why. Even if we ignore Colt, Stag Arms, Daniel Defense, DPMS, Rock River, and the 50 other companies that make AR-15 variants, if you shut down Bushmaster, you don’t automatically cause every existing AR-15 ever produced by Bushmaster to cease functioning…. thus future shootings can (and will) occur.

    On the flip side, if you shut down First Premier, payday lenders, and any type of financing that allows greater than a 36% effective interest rate, those credit cards and loans cease to be valid at the old rates. Some accounts would be closed, others would remain open and in good standing at the lower rate. The net effect is in time people would adapt and actually be in a better financial position.

    I’m all about personal responsibility Sy, so I totally get where you’re coming from, but unlike guns – we can effectively remove predatory lending from the equation. Sure there will be a black market for quick cash just as there would be a black market for semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons, but for the typical citizen the impact of predatory lending would disappear overnight while with firearms – the millions upon millions already in existence would result in no noticeable changes to society for generations and generations.

  25. So? All those guys have more money than me or you. So?

    I say, good show for them.

  26. Sy – the seating capacity at the bar is about 20 – seriously – yes he worked there for almost 25 years and so he knew everybody and vice versa. Fact is – he could have done the same thing at a small local bar “in the city” and had the same number of customers etc. – and made about 20% of that – but the customers in Sausalito almost all happened to be extremely wealthy. A good number of them he didn’t personally care for at all (heard lots of stories) – but over time, he learned to hide his feelings (body language) at least long enough to get 4 or 5 drinks in them and then they were too frikkin’ drunk to see, or care. I spent plenty of time there when I was living in San Fran for a year on a consulting assignment – I got a good first-hand look. While serving -absolutely polite and professional, as soon as probably half were out the door – cursing the minute they’d walked in – again.

  27. Lets get back to the point here. Every Sanford article becomes about t-Denny. We need to discuss the fact that if Sanford THE HOSPITAL has millions and millions to spend on basketball courts for the sky force and hotels for parents whose kids play pee wee football, how does that contribute to the high cost of health care.

  28. Back in 1979 South Dakota decided to eliminate its cap on interest rates, known as a usury law. Back in 1979 SF had a population of half of what it is today.

    In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that credit card issuers could charge out-of-state customers whatever rate was legal in the issuer’s home state, thus, in the space of just a couple of years, SF became the world Capitol of credit card abuse. Our post office has enough automated equipment to handle cities like M&SP. A lot of the credit for this, if that’s what you wanna call it goes to Bill Janklow. I don’t believe he was very proud of the monster he created.

    Say what you will about philanthropy, this is the TDS legacy.

    Required viewing is here.

    Mobile platforms do not support the video so the transcript is here.

    Bottom line is I agree with l3wis, TDS steals from the poor. Given the choice, knowing where and what the CC industry has done to America, I’d just as soon we were that sleepy cow town of 1980.

  29. Scott, everything about Krabbenhoft is show and tell. He is here to run everyone else out of business and run a health monopoly for God. So whatever he does he does for his benefactors versions of what is Godly.

    Sioux Falls has turned from having good hospitals with great doctors to what appears to be a sports competition with us the losers.

  30. Name ONE sports complex with an Avera name on it… Not advertising but a name on the building.

  31. Geez you two (Craig & DL), get a room! (not that there’s anythig wrong with that)

    As for my comparison, yes my point was about personal responsibility, which shouldn’t be something glossed over in the debate about whether or not TDS deserves credit for his philantrophy. My God, half the Country has an expressway or school with the name “Kennedy” slapped on it and can anyone actually argue the Kennedy fortune was made legally and morally? For fux sake, Obama just made his #1 sugar momma Penny Pritzker Commerce secretary, who among other things owns and ran a sub-prime lender and like TDS ran it very well. Where’s the moral outrage over that? All of you TD haters need to fire off some letters if you want to be consistent.

    Beyond that Craig, one other point on your analogy above, if the White House or Congress suddenly decided they wanted to ban all financial products that charge more than 30% or whatever the rate the market reaction would be immediate and severe as it tried to process who would eventually assume both the debt and risk associated with passing such a law, depending on the timing a move like that could very easily cripple (ie lock up) the credit markets who aren’t even fully recovered from ’08 as of yet, so I don’t think John Q Consumer would “be fine” in a matter of time, unless of course you’re time frame is in terms of a decade or more. If all remaining legal credit products have to make up the revenue lost you’d likely see home loans, auto loans, and secured revolving lines all called and re-fied starting at 20% and going up from there. Consumption would drop to 60’s levels. You’d about be at the point where Greece would start to feel sorry for us. As you noted, banning all the gun manufacturers you list above wouldn’t do anything other than boost the black market for existing guns and create a new one for weapons made in ways that circumvent the new laws, I saw a snip that a guy just fired a gun that every part except the steel firing pin was made on a 3D printer. Also, your stats on military bases isn’t really valid as if you’re in the military you already have a job, and the associated benefits with it, along with a place to live for you and your spouse. Maybe to solve the actual problem we simply do like Isreal and when you turn 18 you’re in the military automatically with 3 hots and a cot and no CC unless it’s 5% over prime.

    The term “predatory lending” implies the bank is the predator, hiding in a tree ready to pounce on the next victim who walks by. FPB may have used excessive & deceptive marketing (ie small print) and when called out they both paid settlements and also changed how they operate when the law changed due to the poltical climate. Can you say the same thing for other capitalists/philantrophists like the aforementioned Buffet or Gates? Both of whom have shown on many occassions they can be more heavy handed and anti consumer (ie pro high margins) than TD Sanford ever was. Funny part is Gates and Buffet got to where they are by being pro shareholder and maximizing their ROI. Denny didn’t have any shareholders to answer to as his companies are privately held, so obviously he is simply bashed as being anti-consumer. I’d bet 90% of the consumer of his products are actually happy with them, it’s the unhappy 10% who managed to find their attorneys and the media to tell their story of victimhood which has become the preferred talking point, and with folks like Poly and L3wis who won’t see any good in anything Sanford does (other than die) there’s no walking that storyline back.

    As for Sanford Health, with their $600 m nestegg, they are likely in a place where most hospitals dream to be, they can invest where there’s a need and also where their will be some level or ROI either financially, medically or both. I think many people thought his donation was supposed to be charitable in the sense that it would reduce or eliminate the day to day cost of health care here. It was never intended as that, they put money where it makes an impact and here’s an example in this snip from Mayo’s website as an example:

    “Mayo Clinic T. Denny Sanford Pediatric Center: This all-in-one subspecialty pediatric clinic cares for more than 46,000 children and their families who come to Mayo Clinic each year. Health practitioners worldwide travel to Rochester to experience the center’s reassuring environment and special features and take back ideas to apply at their practices. Mayo Clinic and Sanford Health in South Dakota also have embarked on an unprecedented research collaboration to improve pediatric medicine.”

  32. Avera’s got several moves up their sleeve. Not only do they have some nice sites sitting empty now but they also are seeking out regional hospitals who are in need of a partner right now….It wouldn’t surpise me if they were on the phone to Fairview about 10 minues after Sanford pulled out.

  33. My there’s a lot of lipstick on that pig. But then putting lipstick on the pig this whole nation has become seems to be fashionable now-a-days, so – well, just going along with the general trend I suppose.

    Sy, you need to get out and drive around the state/area a bit. It looks a lot like a flat-lands version of Appalachia of the ’60 s out there. The whole region (that would be the pig) is rapidly rat-hole-ifying, with just a few small pockets of “nice” (the lipstick) scattered here and there.

  34. ” My God, half the Country has an expressway or school with the name “Kennedy” slapped on it and can anyone actually argue the Kennedy fortune was made legally and morally?”

    Sort of a poor analogy considering the Kennedy name exists primarily due to the actions of JFK (and the fact he was assassinated) and doesn’t relate to the grandfather who earned his fortune in such a colorful (illegal and/or unethical) manner.

    “For fux sake, Obama just made his #1 sugar momma Penny Pritzker Commerce secretary, who among other things owns and ran a sub-prime lender and like TDS ran it very well. Where’s the moral outrage over that?”

    I thought we were talking about Sanford here – so pardon me for not debating the finer points of Pritzker, Gates, or Buffet. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not going to defend Obama’s selections and freely admit he is far too chummy with corporate benefactors.

    That said, the old “look at those guys doing it too” defense doesn’t really work for me.

    “If all remaining legal credit products have to make up the revenue lost you’d likely see home loans, auto loans, and secured revolving lines all called and re-fied starting at 20% and going up from there.”

    Well that is a nice scare tactic, but doesn’t really match reality. I’m sure you are aware that in our nations history we have actually had usury laws, and there are other nations that still have them, and we still have them in cases of our military members – and yet it doesn’t seem to cause interest rates to explode.

    What it did do is contribute to less of a disparity between rich and poor… but that is a huge discussion for another day.

    Your argument reminds me of when banks claimed if you took away some of their debit card swipe revenue and credit card revenue they would need to raise fees and rates to compensate. They said the same thing when they required them to adjust how they add overdraft fees to accounts. Some tried to install new fees or raise prices – they found it didn’t really work and consumers weren’t having it, and the banks readjusted. Most consumers haven’t really been impacted much (pro or con) yet the banks continue to make record profits. Good for them – they found a way to adapt. A few people had their accounts closed and they managed to continue.

    The point is, there are very few loans given out which exceed 36%. Those that do tend to be cyclical and those people use the same predatory lenders and payday loan centers time and time again in a revolving door. If there were laws banning these practices (as there are in several states mind you), in the end the people adapt and are better off for it.

    I’m not a fan of over-legislation, and I hate to dictate what free market behaviors we allow, but I’ve seen the impacts first hand and know small adjustments and regulations can result in positive changes.

    After all – if a law is good enough for our servicemembers, it should be good enough for the rest of the public – and by the way – payday loan centers don’t give loans to people without jobs either (thus why they are called PAYDAY loan centers), so your argument about members of the military being employed really doesn’t work.

    I don’t know Sy – you seem to be going a lot of different directions on this one, and although you might be the world’s greatest Tile and Stone distributor and a leading expert in your field, I’m not so sure you understand banking, finance, economics, or the intricacies of the hospitality industry and how sometimes even the best server within a 10 mile radius might not make more than 10% not due to his actions… but due to the finances of his customer.

    Anyway I see where you’re going… I agree with some of what you’re saying, disagree with some as well. I’m just not fan of predatory lending and never have been. I think society is better off without it, and I’m hard pressed to give full credit to donations that stem from such activity… legal or not. To me it stinks of a reverse Robin Hood syndrome – and I just can’t pucker up my lips and call Denny a saint after knowing the full impact of his business practices. I’m a firm believer he has caused more harm than good – but it is much harder to quantify, and since we happen to be located in the area where he spreads the wealth we tend to get a little biased.

    Such is life.

  35. We need to discuss the fact that if Sanford THE HOSPITAL has millions and millions to spend on basketball courts for the sky force and hotels for parents whose kids play pee wee football, how does that contribute to the high cost of health care.

    I was just reading this article yesterday.

    That led me to wondering how Sanford fits into the billing cycle for common procedures for Medicare patients. So I went here.

    All I can say is WOW!!!! The most common procedure done on Medicare patients major joint replacements of the lower extremity. Sanford did 465 of these and their average charge was $43,017.41. Medicares average payment for this procedure is $13,415.33. Same procedure at the Mayo Clinic in Mankato?


    Another common procedure done at both hospitals?

    Permanent pacemaker implants.

    Sanford. $50,507.19
    Mayo, Mankato. $33,582.00

  36. @Poly43 – Interesting table for DRG 470. Sanford at Fargo/Morehead only charges 32,338 for that procedure.

    In SF McKennan also charges around $43,000 – They avg. $42,738. Almost all the MN hospitals are in the $30,000 range except the ones in MSP. They are in the $40K range also. The covered charges column must be what the hospital costs/charges are. The average payments must be what Medicare pays for DRG 470 to the hospitals. Sanford SF gets $13,415 Sanford Fargo gets $14,217 and Mayo Mankato gets $14,134. So Mayo Mankato actually receives more revenue per total knee patient than Sanford SF.

    Montery Hospital in CA has a Covered Charges of $223,373 – WOW….

    All hospitals write off the charges not covered by Medicare and Part B. If all you have is Medicare, you probably get a bill from some.

    Some surgeons will not do surgery on patients with no Part B.

  37. @OSF- Good to see someone else took the time to look at the link. The Fargo one is a head-scratcher given both are Sanford. I was going to use that til I seen the Mayo difference. Lots of interesting numbers to crunch. Right down my wheelhouse.

    Another example of a story you’ll never see the Paywall Leader cover.

  38. Craig:

    “I thought we were talking about Sanford here”

    We are and my examples were of other people or businesses who’s tactics/results don’t differ much, if any from Premier’s, yet they don’t draw the same venom as Sanford does.

    “Well that is a nice scare tactic, but doesn’t really match reality. ”

    Of course not since what I described hasn’t happened. However, if you’ve studied history and/or economics you know that Black Thursday signaled the start of the Great Depression, however it wasn’t the root cause as that was only a 10% drop in the market. The reaction (and overreaction) of the media and institutional investors the following week coupled with the passage of and Hoover’s refusal to veto the Smoot Hawley tariffs created & perpetuated the chain of events that led to a full decade of decline and misery. A similar occurance like knee-jerk passage and implementation of a ban on high rate financial products could easily set forth a similar series of events at a more rapid pace and guess what? We don’t have any more tricks up our sleeves at this point to head that off. So call it a scare tactic, but ignoring the warning bells like we’ve seen in the past is more like whistling past the graveyard.

    “I’m sure you are aware that in our nations history we have actually had usury laws” & “I’m not so sure you understand banking, finance, economics, or”

    Nice doublespeak and backhanded slap…and besides my day job I’ve owned (read worked my ass off in) a bar & restaurant before so I fully understand how to make tips and what good service is and isn’t.

  39. We are and my examples were of other people or businesses who’s tactics/results don’t differ much, if any from Premier’s, yet they don’t draw the same venom as Sanford does.

    So because another does what Sanford does makes it ok? Not hardly? If anyone follows Sanford’s lead in subprime shenanigans, then they need need to go….regardless of party politics

  40. Avera Sports Institute is NOT a Sports “entertainment” facility it has Rehab and wellness and athlete Performance instruction. Nice Try

  41. Lots of comment here. What rings true is Sanford became ultrarich from 30% credit cards and overpriced health care. Bill Gates got rich from unregulated private enterprise. Suddenly, he’s realized he can’t posssibly store it or give it away within his or his heirs lifetime. He’s become philanthropic. Sanford wants to look like a gift horse but still sneaks in a profit. His enterprises are or should be regulated. Mostly, they are but the feds look the other way. Just today, there’s new regulation requiring hospitals to provide a statement to patients. Historically, they have varied with some hospital stays costing 10 times more than another hospital. Sanford saw the health care profit center in advance. He’s ridden this wave but now there’s trade legislation.
    Craig, I touched a nerve. The point is that a $330 million budget is high for a population of 150K. The Vatican budget came from a History Channel program.
    Lots of response here. Generally, Sanford has been good for the area and the region. However, there’s citizen fallout because it’s become expensive for health care and credit. Once he’s gone, we’ll think the statue at the hospital is Eisenhower. He’ll hardly be remembered and there’s debt for our children to clean up.

  42. We’ll remember Bill Gates. Dunham, Lloyd, and Sanford will be trivia question answers nobody can answer. I’m proud I’m not one of their thousand dollar suits who must crawl in and bow out backward from their offices.

  43. Sy: “We are and my examples were of other people or businesses who’s tactics/results don’t differ much, if any from Premier’s, yet they don’t draw the same venom as Sanford does.”

    Again Sy – we are talking about Sanford here. Sanford is local, it impacts local lives, we see it every day, and most of us have friends or family who either have worked for Sanford (or FP) or still do work for them.

    So yes in this area someone like Gates or Buffet isn’t going to register much or have nearly the same impact. Go to Omaha however and I’m fairly certain the local blogs wouldn’t even know who Denny Sanford is while Buffet is a daily discussion. Gates probably receives more ‘venom’ in a day than someone like Sanford does in a year. Even though the guy is retired and is dumping billions towards things like vaccinations, he is still attached from people who dislike Windows 8 and from anti-vaccinationists, and from anyone and everyone who feels that Microsoft abused their power.

    None of that matters – because this blog post, and this discussion was specifically about Sanford and their relationship. Again, the “other people do it too” defense is fairly weak. If that’s all you’ve got I’d suggest digging deeper.

    “A similar occurance like knee-jerk passage and implementation of a ban on high rate financial products could easily set forth a similar series of events at a more rapid pace”

    Well ‘could’ is a dangerous word. Banning interests rates above 36% ‘could’ result in a massive depression, but it ‘could’ result in the lower and lower-middle classes finally getting out from under the shoe of those who control them via the flow of cash… and it ‘could’ result in the beginning of an era of economic freedom and growth never before seen in our history.

    Of course neither of those extremes is very likely. We have our own history of states with usury laws, have have examples of other countries with usury laws, and we have examples of most of our major financial institutions including most of the major players right here in Sioux Falls that don’t even offer a single product with an interest rate which would be impacted by such legislation.

    In short Sy – I’m of the firm belief if laws were changed to limit interest to 36% – the only thing you might see is fewer payday loan centers in our fine city, and a retraction of available credit to a very small group of our population which quite frankly doesn’t control so much as a recognizable sliver of the economic pie meaning their impact would be negligible.

    Don’t fret however – Wall Street and the financial backers who control Washington will never allow such common sense reforms to occur, so we will continue to see the ever-growing disparity between rich and poor.

    “I’ve owned (read worked my ass off in) a bar & restaurant before so I fully understand how to make tips and what good service is and isn’t.”

    Well not knowing how successful you were in your venture, or to what extent you were involved in server training and/or improvement I can’t really say. What I can say is that I happen to know that DL has been the highest tip earning server at practically every restaurant he has worked in and he has a few decades of experience to fall back upon, so the point is I’m sure he is well aware of what good service is and probably doesn’t need advice from you. That would be like me trying to teach you the major differences between natural marble and granite and trying to suggest I know how you could increase your sales by employing a few clever marketing tactics. Pretty sure we both know you’re the expert in your field and there are very few people who would educate you. I’d actually consider it insulting if I tried to tell you how to do your job, because I’m fairly certain your business didn’t get where it is today by you NOT knowing what the hell you are doing.

    In summary I’ve even been served by DL even before he knew who the hell I was, therefore I’m certain if his tips aren’t as high as he would like it most likely isn’t due to his service, but rather who he is serving. We live in an area not exactly known for high wages surrounded by a lot of small towns where tipping a buck a plate is considered sufficient. I can’t really place blame for all of that upon the server who is busting his or her ass to make the dining experience as good as possible.

  44. I agree with Craig. I know this article is way old but I’m glad to see that others care enough about the modus operandi of Sanford and associates to be willing to have a discussion and not just follow the herd

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