'A seat at the table'
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In the latest in a series of legal filings, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and six Brooklyn civic groups filed a motion in court on Friday to give the local community a say in determining the next owner of Long Island College Hospital (LICH).
On August 20, state Supreme Court Justice Carlyn Demarest found that SUNY Downstate Medical Center had violated a contractual obligation to keep LICH open and nullified the original sale of LICH, located in Cobble Hill, to SUNY.
LICH's previous owner, Continuum Health Partners, in the midst of a merger with Mt. Sinai Medical Center, says it can't take LICH back. Several other groups have reportedly expressed interest in taking over LICH, however.
Last Wednesday, Justice Demarest imposed “a constructive trust for the benefit of the Othmer Endowment Fund” on all of LICH’s real property currently in control of SUNY Downstate.
De Blasio and civic groups filed a “Motion to Intervene” in that case on Friday as stakeholders in the hospital’s future. In a statement issued on Friday, de Blasio said the groups were “pressing the court to create a protective trust for LOCH’s assets and medical records to protect them from theft or exploitation while the hospital’s future is in question.”
“SUNY turned its back on this community, and as a result, it’s almost succeeding in turning this hospital into luxury condos. We won’t let that happen again. We’ll fight in court to make sure this community has a seat at the table and a voice in determining who ultimately runs LICH,” de Blasio said.
The Motion to Intervene was filed by de Blasio, the Boerum Hill Association, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, Cobble Hill Association, Brooklyn Heights Association, Wyckoff Gardens Association, and Riverside Tenants’ Association.
De Blasio, community groups, the New York State Nurses Association and other petitioners continue to participate in negotiations about reopening LICH through a separate court case before Justice Johnny L. Baynes.
Several critical services, including restoring full operation of the Emergency Department and ambulance service are set to return on September 3.
De Blasio and the community groups are being represented by the firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.
Check back for more details on this developing story.