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LICH deal sealed

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s official: the shell of Long Island College Hospital is no longer the state’s problem.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli approved the sale of the medical campus on Oct. 28, closing the book on the long battle over the closure and sale of the Cobble Hill hospital to make way for luxury housing. Officials with the State University of New York, which has controlled the valuable real estate since taking over the hospital in 2011, said the sign-off proves the deal with Fortis Property Group is completely aboveboard, despite vehement criticism to the contrary.

“Approval by the offices of the attorney general and state comptroller demonstrates that the contract complies with all state laws and the court-mandated settlement agreement, and allows the full and seamless transition of the facility to commence immediately,” said university chairman Carl McCall and chancellor Nancy Zimpher in a joint statement.

The approval comes after a barrage of legal challenges from community groups and staffers, first claiming the state had no right to shutter that the 156-year-old facility, then that the state stacked the process of picking a buyer and sabotaged two other developers whose bids scored higher in a court-mandated process. One of the groups advocating for a permanent, full-service hospital at the site, Patients for Long Island College Hospital, blamed Gov. Cuomo for the closure but said it came as no surprise that state pols went along with the plan begun by his handpicked university board.

“In fighting SUNY’s destruction of our hospital, we have discovered that in Governor Cuomo’s New York state the community has little voice or power,” the group said in a statement. “We are disappointed but not surprised that neither Comptroller DiNapoli nor Attorney General Schneiderman had the courage to stand up against Cuomo and stop the corruption that has marked SUNY’s ownership of LICH and the biased RFP process that has resulted in the sale of LICH for condos.”

Fortis is partnering with New York University Langone Medical Center to redevelop the property that boasts views of the Statue of Liberty. Details on the planned high-end residential development are in short supply, but the two companies have touted the healthcare facilities they say they will build on the site, as required by a lawsuit settlement. The medical complex is set to include a $175 million, four-story healthcare center housing 400 employees, including 70 doctors, according to the university.

New York University is set to take over the emergency department on Oct. 31.

Fortis has agreed to reimburse the state for its operation of the walk-in emergency department from May 23 until Aug. 31, when a lawsuit filed by staffers unions nearly scuttled the deal. Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Johnny Lee Baynes threw out the lawsuit after McCall threatened to pull the plug on the emergency room.

The state says ambulance service will return to the site “as soon as possible.” If or when ambulances do return, New York University says it expects to treat 35 to 50 patients a day and it has promised to employ two private ambulances to transfer patients to nearby hospitals when needed.

Advocates and local elected officials, as recently as last weekend, called on the comptroller and the attorney general to investigate the state’s management of the hospital, including the alleged mishandling of patient billing and the squandering of a $140 million endowment meant to keep the hospital running in perpetuity.

Fortis has still not released its final plans for the luxury housing complex, but its initial proposal said the development would include rental units, condos, and townhouses, one quarter of the units below-market-rate.

Former Patients for Long Island College Hospital member Susan Raboy said the sealing of the redevelopment deal proves the activists were right: People are going to die waiting to be transported to hospitals in other neighborhoods and it was all so that some politically connected developers could make a buck.

“This has always been about money,” Raboy said. “It is clear that saving lives meant nothing to them. Lives will be lost. They are getting away with murder.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bklyn says:
A private developer gets public property for cheap at the expense of the public health, welfare and safety? Say it ain't so! And we thought our new mayor would put a stop to the private-public corruption of handing over public assets to private developers at the expense of the public. What a joke, which bye the way, is on you citizens of NYC!
Oct. 30, 2014, 12:52 pm
Bkquz from new York says:
omg people believe too much in politics no man can fix things. It's all about greed. This news doesn't surprise me..
Oct. 30, 2014, 3:10 pm
Bee from Park slope says:
Just think of the girl that died on the way to Methodist yesterday with a blocked airway. She was at school in Coble Hill when she choked on a muffin, just a few blocks from LICH.
Oct. 30, 2014, 4:15 pm
Joseph from New Springvlle says:
It is amazing how all these Cuomo Democrats easily close our hospitals
saying What difference does it make? Coming to a neighborhood near you Cuomo's hospital killers. Andrew Cuomo's Fortis developers received prime real estate in Brooklyn Heights Cobble Hill cheap. Cuomo's Brooklyn citizens lost their hospital and are now risking their lives because the state failed to provide affordable healthcare under Cuomo and SUNY willfull mismanagement of #saveLich,
Oct. 30, 2014, 6:38 pm
Claire Buckley from Long Island says:
Posted a comment many moons ago that this would happen, just like it did to Saint Vincent`s. Disgusting behaviour by Politicians. The current Mayor, Former Mayor, current NY Govenor and former Governor all need to hang thir heads in shame. You were bribed and bought out.
Oct. 30, 2014, 7:14 pm
Claire Buckley from Long Island says:
Posted a comment many moons ago that this would happen, just like it did to Saint Vincent`s. Disgusting behaviour by Politicians. The current Mayor, Former Mayor, current NY Govenor and former Governor all need to hang thir heads in shame. You were bribed and bought out.
Oct. 30, 2014, 7:14 pm
mike mccabe from Red Hook says:
Anyone from Brooklyn that votes for Cuomo, is out of their mind. There should be pickets setup outside all voting areas.
Oct. 31, 2014, 12:06 am
Ed from Cobble Hill says:
What happens to the public parks, that were part of the deal with LICH to build there parking garage? Was that city or state property and now three more public parks are gone also?
Oct. 31, 2014, 3:05 am
Lito from Bklyn says:
People shouldn't count on getting anything that fortis & nyu promised in their proposal for lich. Fortis & nyu have already reneged on the affordable housing & nurse staff part of their proposal. The affordable housing piece dropped out & is gone. The written proposal also stated that all the nursing jobs would be staffed with the Nysna nurses. But The minute SUNY signed the deal, fortis & nyu said that nothing in their proposal was binding & they they threw out the Nysna nurses too. So let's not hold our breath for anything else they have in their proposal to come to fruition. With the track record fortis & nyu already have on not living up to the promises they put in writing, we'll believe it when we see it.
Oct. 31, 2014, 9:31 pm
MA from Carroll Gardens says:
Congratulations Mayor bill deblasio. Great job letting the hospital get closed and the ER get turned into a walk in urgent care room. You lied to us all. By the way people, nyu isn't bringing any other services until after they tear down the old & then take 3 yrs to build new buildings. That's how they'll get the community to think twice about fighting them on The construction, zoning, building heights & anything else. If the community wants the little bit more service that nyu says they'll bring someday, the community will just have to shut up & get out of the way & let fortis build what it wants to build. The longer the community fights them on construction, building heights, zoning or whatever, the longer they will not have any of the services nyu promised in its proposal. If they want the doctors offices mall that nyu plans they'll just have to swallow the construction plans too or nothing else that was promised will ever be started. Nyu strategy.
Oct. 31, 2014, 9:51 pm
Sam Cramer from Cobble Hill says:
So NYU Med is taking over the emergency room. Why is this not adequate for saving lives? I'm not fully versed in medical matters, but to me, it would seem NYU is fully capable of operating an effective emergency facility , no? Why the uproar? Last i checked, NYU is a rather reputable medical organization.
Nov. 5, 2014, 10:32 am

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