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LICH in the balance

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge on Tuesday once again pushed back a decision on whether state officials broke the law when they reduced service at Long Island College Hospital.

The State University of New York, along with the Service Employees International Union for healthcare workers won a request for a two-day delay to continue “good faith” discussions despite pleas by anti-hospital-closure activists to finally kick off the hearing which was first scheduled in November 2013.

“The people in this room have been waiting around. What they want is justice,” said Jim Walden, a lawyer representing six community groups in a lawsuit against the state.

On Thursday, Judge Johnny Lee Baynes is yet again scheduled to decide whether state managers of the embattled Cobble Hill medical center are in contempt of court for reducing service levels in direct violation of court orders forbidding it. The orders mandate that the state, which has been trying to close the hospital for a year, keep service levels where they were on July 19, when management first started diverting ambulances to other hospitals. In the months that followed, the state placed 650 hospital staffers on paid administrative leave, stopped surgeries, and surrounded the hospital with security guards, moves hospital advocates say are clearly illegal.

If found guilty of contempt, state reps could face fines, or even jail time, but Baynes has for the last four months avoided a decision on the issue, saying that he would prefer the state, activists, and staffers unions reach an agreement on their own.

The state could not reach an accord with hospital defenders by 3:40 in the morning on Sunday, a State University of New York attorney said in court on Tuesday, but a deal could still be struck.

“We remain absolutely willing partners in a settlement process,” Walden told Judge Baynes.

Union bigs say the issue of keeping the hospital open is a big sticking point in reaching an agreement. The state has claimed it is losing $13 million a month keeping the storied, 155-year-old healthcare facility open and is in the process of selling it off, which Gov. Cuomo says makes it ineligible to benefit from $8 billion in federal Medicaid money that the state scored last week.

But staffer reps said that shuttering the hospital to wait around for someone to redevelop it is a non-starter.

“We are concerned about any settlement that would close LICH for any period of time,” New York State Nurses Association head Jill Furillo said in a statement.

The community groups are trying to subpoena the e-mails and text messages of John Williams, head of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and other state honchos, Walden said. Judge Baynes should decide by Thursday whether to demand the records, according to Walden.

One anti-closure neighbor said she is willing to wait for the delayed contempt hearing — as long as the state gets its comeuppance.

“This is a murder and conspiracy trial,” said Cobble Hill resident Judi Francis. “I am patient.”

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

BK from South Brooklyn says:
Ms Francis is so right. The murder & conspiracy to rob, rape & kill LICH & get rid of the evidence. The past yr has shown just how morally ethically corrupt the governor & his administration are. Sneaky, lying, & vicious working behind the scenes to allow his state university cronies to violate the law & an entire community. Destroying a good highly utilized much needed hospital for profit & greed. Cuomo is a disgrace. All these political high rollers are. Watching them all run roughshod over the average citizen in this city & lie their way through it all with no consequence has been an education. These guys with the deep pockets run this state however they want. We all just pay for it. NY government is a farce. Time is going to come when there will be nobody in NY except the rich like Cuomo, McCall & friends.
Feb. 18, 2014, 5:46 pm
Mike says:
What was done to LICH was the governors scam. SUNY officials were his capos. LICH will become nationally known again - when Andy Cuomo runs for president & we make sure everyone knows what he did to Brooklyn.
Feb. 18, 2014, 5:57 pm
Curious from Want to Know says:
Wasn't Obamacare supposed to have saved the hospital?
Feb. 19, 2014, 5:45 am
rest in peace from Brooklyn says:
Let it die already!

This horse left the barn and isn't coming back, not as a goat, not a rabbit, and hopfully not as a rat as we're running the risk of having with the grocery fat cat and xx mayor who are in it for the fanfare circus act it has become.

This is all a waste of time and money pumped up by the unions. And it's getting boring.
Feb. 19, 2014, 10:06 am
crankyoldguy from Brooklyn Heights says:
Sure, let the OLD LICH die and SUNY Downstate along with it but don't throw over a hospital in this location for condos. We need hospitals close by to aid in crises - of which there have been many lately that, without LICH, a lot of people would have died (remember Sandy?). Throw out the Albany pols who who did nothing three years ago before it all became a crisis and was obviously being raped by the new SUNY team. Leadership is what is needed and hopefully deBlasio will rise to the task where Squadron and Millman did nadda for years.
Feb. 19, 2014, 1:09 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Andrew Cuomo is indeed a disgrace. His entire agenda as Governor of NY has been to do everything to seem as middle of the road Moderate.

-closing Public Hospitals will be a plus.

I do not think at this moment focusing sending someone to jail, if it does not garauntee LICH survival is dumb-

is the statue of limitation running out here?

-Expect this Governor, who will never get my vote again in this lifetime, to announce a lot of walk-in Health Centers that provides everything, but beds w/ the $8billion they just received from the feds.
As a result I believe LICH dys as a full service Hospital are numbered.

My baby was born there, I am so greatful for LICH.

LICH's demise is also a result of BBP. With the hospital gone, expect condos all the way to the water.

This Governor had zero opposition because the GOP figured a tea-party type Challenger was just was NYS needed.
I wish the GOP would drop the hate & angry speeches

Cuomo is an arrogance governor. I can only wish he gets primaried or face some competent opposition, GOP, Green prty, Independent some one
Feb. 19, 2014, 1:16 pm
r u kidding from Brooklyn says:
Grateful for LICH?, it's not alive, it's a building, and buildings get sold. Out with the old and in with the new - that's how it goes.

It's retarded to blame a business for wanting to sell. This should be their decision, and their's alone.

There are a lot better things that could be done in a place like Cobble Hill than sticken it with a hospital. I know I'd never want to live next to one. Total chaos.
Feb. 20, 2014, 12:59 am
Bob H from Crown Heights says:
Jim Walden lawyer for community groups news story that is very interesting:

Contrary to Statement on WNYC, Gibson Dunn Now Claims Weinshall as Client
by Ben Fried

Yesterday we found out that the well-connected opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane are refusing to accept the decision from Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan rejecting their lawsuit. A caveat to the journalists who might pick up the remnants of this story: Quotes from the opponents’ attorney, Gibson Dunn partner Jim Walden, often need vigorous fact-checking.

http://www.streetsblog.org/
Feb. 20, 2014, 10:43 am
BevD from RED HOOK/CARROLL GDNS says:
Well, on the news, this evening, outside of SUNY LICH. THERE WAS -that there may be a decision, that LICH STAYS- DO WHAT THEY WANT AROUND- BUT HOSPITAL STAYS A HOSPITAL

That is what we want as a whole community, of some who are three generations. Whose families have been born here and have moved on to Bensonhurst, etc and still came to this hospital- followed their doctors here at the hospital for surgeries,etc These patients come to their medical offices that are in the hospital and around the hospital. CRUEL ACT - WOULD LEAD TO HORRIBLE DEATH- THIS WOULD BE A MURDER RAP ON THE HEADS OF ALL THAT ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE ACTS -SINCE AND PRIOR TO 2013 WITH THREATS, DEMONSTRATIONS, FEAR FROM ALL AGES - WHO ARE LOCAL OR AT FAR
WHO RELY ON THIS HOSPITAL- FOR THEIR DOCTORS, LOCATION, STAFF AND COMPASSIONATE NURSES, WHO HAVE COME TO KNOW ALL THE PATIENTS and their FAMILIES. ITS NEEDED FOR THE YOUNG AS WELL AS THE ELDERLY. FOR THE CLOSE BUSINESSES, INJURIES TO WHO WORK SO CLOSE TO THIS AREA, FOR THE UNBORN IN HEIGHTS, DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, COBBLE HILL N RED HOOK/CARROLL GARDENS, PARK SLOPE, ETC

CLOSEST, FASTEST, RELIANT HOSPITAL WITH DOCTORS n STAFF

FEARS, THREATS, MUST COME TO AN END.
Feb. 21, 2014, 1:12 am

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