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October 20, 2014

AG holds public hearing on possible Sanford-Fairview merger

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has raised concerns about the possibility of South Dakota-based Sanford Health taking control of Fairview.

On Almanac Friday, Swanson said she will hold the first of several public hearings so residents, or Minnesota’s shareholders, can weigh in on the proposed transaction.

(The Swanson interview begins at 17:57.)

Swanson says Fairview is a strong, century-old charitable institution in Minnesota that employs 2,000 and has a net worth of $1.2 billion.

“How do you protect those charitable assets for the people of Minnesota? Fairview wouldn’t exist today without the generosity and goodwill of the people of Minnesota.” Swanson says. “A charitable institution doesn’t have shareholders. Their shareholders, if you will, are the people of Minnesota.”

The Star Tribune reports T. Denny Sanford’s background of selling last-ditch credit cards to consumers may be a major contributor to Swanson’s objections. Sanford doesn’t hold a position within the health system, but has contributed more than $600 million.

The University of Minnesota hospital, a world-class academic institution, is also part of Fairview.

Representatives from Fairview, Sanford and the university are expected to attend the hearing Sunday. It will take place at 1:30 p.m. in Room 15 of the State Capitol.