The Cobble Hill Association aired its outrage at Stan Brezenoff’s hiring, then went silent

Civic group in tweet spot over DeBlasio’s appointment of ‘would-be LICH killer’

The Brooklyn Paper
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Mayor DeBlasio’s Tuesday appointment of a businessman who once presided over the gutting of Long Island College Hospital to an advisor position sparked outcry among anti-hospital closure activists this week, then silence.

Fighting the state’s bid to close the hospital was a signature issue of DeBlasio’s campaign, so the announcement that he would hire former Continuum Health Partners head Stan Brezenoff as an unpaid advisor on labor relations to Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris did not sit well with the Cobble Hill Association. The civic group tweeted its outrage immediately after the news broke, but then clammed up, apparently in deference to DeBlasio, who as mayor will play a key role in deciding the hobbled hospital’s fate.

“Stan Brezenoff the LICH-killer as special advisor to the deputy mayor?!?! Are you kidding me?” the association tweeted on Tuesday.

Other mini missives from the group accused Brezenoff of plundering the hospital’s $140-million Othmer Endowment Fund.

The fund has not had a public accounting, but Brezenoff’s Continuum ran the Cobble Hill medical center into the ground in the late 2000s, racking up $170-million in debt, firing staffers, selling hospital buildings, and trying to close key departments. In 2008, pols including former Borough President Marty Markowitz accused the company of trying to kill the hospital, while then-Slope councilman DeBlasio said Continuum execs should have asked for help sooner.

But on Thursday, activists’ lips were sealed on Brezenoff’s appointment. Union reps at the New York State Nurses Association did not return requests for comment. And Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association would say only that he did not want to “influence any outcome regarding the hospital” and that the tweets were written by someone else in his organization.

Nor was Brezenoff eager to highlight his track record.

“We have enormous challenges ahead of us,” said Brezenoff in a written statement that made no mention of his time at Continuum. “It won’t be easy, but this will be a progressive and effective administration that protects taxpayers and respects its workers.”

The State University of New York took over the healthcare facility in 2010, but that did little to alleviate its woes. State hospital honchos spent 2013 trying to again pull the plug on the hospital that sits on land valued at as much as $500-million over the objection of staffers, DeBlasio, and other elected officials.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Carolyn Demarest, who issued a bombshell court order demanding the state relinquish control of the hospital to any taker — she first picked Continuum, but it declined — has also ordered the state to account for and pay back the money it took from the Othmer endowment. The state said it burned through most of the permanent operating fund and would have trouble paying it back because it had always planned to sell off hospital property to make up the difference and is now prohibited from doing so.

Brezenoff has been in and out of city government throughout his career. He served under Mayor Ed Koch as head of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation. He later worked as director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and was in command during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, for which the agency avoided paying out millions to victims after nearly 20 years of court battles over whether it was negligent for ignoring warnings that the buildings’ underground parking garage was vulnerable to a terrorist attack.

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

John from Bay Ridge says:
Brezenoff was a very interesting choice. Continuum did suck the money right out of LICH under his leadership. That said, LICH is dead, and nothing will bring it back. The best the community can hope for is a large urgent med and primary care center, alongside the condos that will be built. De Blasio will announce the preservation of medical services, alongside a greatly increased number of affordable housing units that the developer will agree to build with the planned luxury units. This story is already written, it will just take a while to announce it.
Jan. 3, 2014, 8:46 am
resident from Cobble Hill says:
You almost right John and I'm glad you've come to your sences. LICH is dead (operating only on life support) and a smaller emergency care unit would be the best outcome one could hope for that actually makes sence.

Only we don't need affordable housing to convert these buildings as many are existing houses already and of the buildings that are not, they stand where houses one were. LICH took from the private sector and now it's time to give it back.

As Cobble Hill is already an above median income area and we're only putting back housing that was once there, no afforadble housing is needed nor wanted.
Jan. 3, 2014, 10:22 am
NYC to run it? from Carroll Gardens says:
Last word was SUNY asking if NYC wanted to run LICH as a hospital - so instead of talking off the top of your heads? how about picking up there and asking what/if this appointment (ask the Mayor, his Media people or brezenoff himself?). LICH has been vital to our areas for 160 years - and run into the ground for reason to sell the property alone. There's no hospital for Red Hook and everyone across Columbia St/Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill - and 100,000 were served by is ER alone in 2012. Our mayor developed his brand image as one that would fight for LICH - he was down to 7% in polls before joining the fight (getting arrested on camera). SUNY put this in the City's hands -- and that is where the answer lies.
Jan. 3, 2014, 11:06 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
With an aging population, obviously we need a real hospital with a real bed count.
I hope the New Mayor will realise, and work for, that now while there is time to do that.
The stats on the aging population are very daunting.
Jan. 3, 2014, 2:10 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
LICH was underutilized. Many other hospital options exist within a short ride. The surrounding community essentially stopped using LICH long ago, as LICH's tiny patient census of the past 10 years revealed. NYC does not have the money to run LICH as a city hospital.
Jan. 3, 2014, 2:51 pm
Pancho from Guadalhara says:
If diBlasio cant beat'm, hire'm
Jan. 4, 2014, 11:29 am
Bingo from Queens says:
John, u have been underestimating Lich. I don't think u know well this hospital-- was second best hospital in Brooklyn before It got strangulated by continuum and twisted to the ground by SUNY DMC. All you're saying are out of truth. Lich was once a rich hospital sustaining its own "life" with prominent doctors , medical staff were busy everywhere from units to units. So U better zip your mouth before acting like u know about Lich. Area around needs full service hospital .
Jan. 4, 2014, 9:44 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Bingo, I know LICH very well. It died years ago, and the cause of death was in part due to the factors you cited. But there were others as well. The point is that the time has come to bury LICH's corpse. Sad, but reality.
Jan. 5, 2014, 10:36 pm
Bill from Crown Heights says:
John from Bay Ridge, you are correct. Lets make the best of this and get an urgent care center and maybe park. LICH is done.
Jan. 8, 2014, 9:52 am
Henry from Remsen Street says:
NYC does not want LICH. It was all politics and talk from DeBlasio. Now the reality of running the city set it. He hired the man that destroyed LICH so we have to be realistic.
Jan. 8, 2014, 9:54 am
Sam from Cobble Hill says:
I think affordable housing makes sense. We need to demand affordable housing in place of LICH.
Jan. 8, 2014, 10:01 am
Mendal from Brooklyn says:
DeBlasio would be on board for affordable housing. It may be the people who live there that don't want it.
Jan. 8, 2014, 10:04 am
Kyle from Park Slope says:
Rents have gone crazy in Brooklyn in recent years so yes maybe affordable housing is the best thing for Brooklyn
Jan. 8, 2014, 10:05 am
LICH Man from LICH says:
Crains said today: The fall in hospital employment may begin in early 2014. Mayor Bill de Blasio may try to keep Brooklyn's money-losing Long Island College Hospital open, but the Cobble Hill facility filed a notice of mass layoffs with the state Department of Labor, specifying that 1,442 employees could lose their jobs between Jan. 21 and Feb. 3. Looks like DeBlasio would npot take LICH on as a City Hospital
Jan. 8, 2014, 3:01 pm
Sean from Brooklyn heights says:
LICH was not under utilized and every bed was full through 2012. Problem was continuum taking what it could and then SUNY not billing
Not sure what you are basing your info on but I've been at LICH from 1995 and know it inside and out
LICH shutdown was forced and it's being held down and choked. SUNY still does not allow elective admissions or surgery
Jan. 8, 2014, 9:22 pm
Sean from Carroll Gardens says:
Maybe you should try to get a job at Methodist, Sean. Time is up for LICH, pal. Should anyone feel bad if you lose your job? You have had plenty of time to move on.
Jan. 9, 2014, 12:09 am
Carroll from Gardens says:
John talks like he knows what hes talking about but hes doesn't. Hes just spreading SUNY lies about LICH. Probably works for SUNY. Fact is LICH was not under-utilized. It was full to capacity above 90% everyday for several yrs until this past April when SUNY started blocking patients from coming in & shut down the psych unit. Thanks to Continuum, which still continues to do the billing even long after the merge, Nobody got billed for the services. LICH is not dead. Dead or failing hospitals don't get nationally ranked as among the best in the borough, city, & state every year, even in 2013 in the midst of all this sabotage. There's 1 person posting here using different aliases to make it look LICH is not wanted. He speaks for no one but himself & SUNY. The elected officials & other leaders who led the fight to save LICH as a hospital will be held to it.
Jan. 9, 2014, 12:26 am
louis from prospect park says:
March 15, 2014, 7:21 pm

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