The mayoral shoo-in blames SUNY for hospital woes but glosses over Cuomo’s power to address them

Zip your LICH: DeBlasio mum on what the Gov is saying behind closed doors

The Brooklyn Paper
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Democratic mayoral nominee Bill DeBlasio refused on Friday to give a straight answer about the content of his conversations with Gov. Cuomo about the fate of Long Island College Hospital. Cuomo has endorsed the former Park Slope councilman and current public advocate and the two have been talking ahead of DeBlasio’s likely move to City Hall.

The fate of the beleaguered medical center has come up, DeBlasio said three days before the election. He just would not say how.

Asked at an anti-hospital closure press conference at Borough Hall what the governor has said about Long Island College Hospital, DeBlasio took a detour around the question.

“We’ve had most of our conversations with SUNY officials, and I haven’t been personally a part of a lot of those,” DeBlasio said.

“But I think, look, we have a real difference with SUNY,” he continued, glossing over the fact that Cuomo appoints 15 of the 18 members of the university’s board of trustees as well as the commissioner of the Department of Health, which approved the closure. “And we are hopeful that the governor and other leaders in Albany will prevail upon SUNY to stop doing the wrong thing, which they consistently have done with LICH.”

The latest poll shows DeBlasio likely to sail to an easy victory on Tuesday and, though he has been a vocal opponent of the closure of the 155-year-old Cobble Hill hospital, as mayor he would work closely with the governor, whose underlings have been trying to shutter the facility since February.

This reporter pressed further, asking if DeBlasio had not discussed the closure with Cuomo, who endorsed him after his September primary win. Again, DeBlasio demurred.

“Not in the past week or two, but I think the point is that we’re going to keep pushing for a different approach from SUNY,” he said.

Hospital leaders have hailed DeBlasio for his efforts as public advocate to keep the institution alive. He is active in lawsuits against the state for its handling of the hospital and got himself arrested protesting the shuttering. His activist efforts have been so major that they garnered him the New York State Nurses Association’s first-ever mayoral endorsement back during the Democratic primary season, long before it was a near-certainty that he would be the city’s next mayor.

The state has allowed ambulances back at the hospital and is supposed to be out of the picture sometime soon due to a bombshell ruling by Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Carolyn Demarest that stripped it of authority over the place, but the facility remains in a vegetative state with no new operator in the offing.

Gov. Cuomo’s office has not declined repeated requests for comment about the hospital’s fate over the past eight months.

As long as the state runs the hospital, Gov. Cuomo holds the keys to stopping its closure, but both he and his likely future colleague are staying tight-lipped about what the future has in store.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
DeBlasio was taking a nap. When he wakes up, he'll check to see which lobbyist donated the most money, and then he'll make a decision.
Nov. 4, 2013, 12:49 pm
Disgusted from Carroll Gardens says:
Don Cuomo, we've seen you do NOTHING for months upon months while allowing your SUNY thugs to violate laws, try to break communities, illegally dismantle our hospitals, and put lives at risk ( I won't forget the locks on the doors of our emergency room even during a killer summer heat wave). No one doubts that SUNY was carrying out your orders in Brooklyn and we made it blow up in your face. You should be ashamed of yourself for what you allowed to happen here for so long. Is it true you stopped LIJ from stepping in to save LICH? Call off your thugs now. Stop trying to fill your budget holes on our backs. We want our hospital back. Stop acting like the chief thug & Give LICH to a new operator now.
Nov. 4, 2013, 2:31 pm
staffer from LICH says:
Well it couldn't have been much because Downstate is still trying to empty LICH out, keep patients out, and get employees to be scared out by the constant lay offs notices and other daily scare tactics that are still going on. Seems like they're still intent on turning LICH into a shell.
Nov. 4, 2013, 2:46 pm
Staff member of lich from Bk says:
I want to see if it's all face after de blasio wins! My PERSONAL opinion he will turn his back on the hospital. He will claim "I tried my best I even got arrested for lich theres nothing else I can do."
Nov. 5, 2013, 10:43 am
Joe from Carroll Gardens says:
Ask the proponents of the Gowanus Canal superfund etc - what they think of DeBlasio? Didn't bruce Ratner throw him a birthday party? Didn't the blog Pardon Me For Asking call him "self serving"?
Nov. 5, 2013, 11:24 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
DeBlasio is the emptiest of suits.
Nov. 5, 2013, 2:16 pm
Joe from SUNSET PARK says:
I hope he does the right thing, but the hospital will not be like it was..he will keep the hospital open .
and they sell off the rest so he still looks like a hero.. but the truth is he stuck his neck out for us or we would have been closed July 22.. so I thing he wil try before Cuomo tell him this is what will happen... but he did try when no one else did .... thanks Bill
now do the right thing...
Nov. 5, 2013, 5:56 pm
jay from Tal says:
hmmm wait five minutes and then ask again?
Nov. 5, 2013, 6:20 pm
Colonel Hall from Fort Baxter says:
DeBlasio is scum and Cuomo, in context, is even worse than George W Bush.
Nov. 5, 2013, 8:34 pm from Park Slope says:
Disgusted from Carroll Gardens hit it on the head. Cuomo is Public Enemy #1 on ALL these hospital closures which hurt ALL our communities.

Meanwhile Methodist licks its chops hoping to gain new customers and aggressively planning its latest expansion.
Nov. 10, 2013, 7:32 pm

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