WOODBURY - A Newsday/News 12 investigation into the sale of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Center is raising questions on how the deal came together.

Last summer, the Suffolk County Legislature agreed to sell the county-run nursing home to an upstate nursing home operator for $23 million. The county awarded Israel Sherman and his nephew, Sam, the winning bid.

The investigation shows that the real estate appraisal on the nursing home was not finished until after the sales contract was signed. The Shermans were also offered tax breaks to help them raise their bid and beat their competitors.

Israel Sherman denies that the county favored him over the others. The Newsday/News 12 investigation also shows that Sherman's landlord and attorney, Howard Fensterman, donated $9,500 to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's campaign. Fensterman also sits on a key health department committee and is a major Democratic fundraiser.

Opponents say the deal was improper and steered by politics. Bellone says the sale of the nursing home will help deal with the massive budget gap.

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