Tuesday, 26 July 2016

De Blasio’s Role in Brooklyn Hospital Sale Is Under Investigation

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has asked SUNY to submit communication relating to the sale

Investigations into the Bill de Blasio administration aren’t ending anytime soon it seems. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is now looking into the mayor’s involvement in the sale of the Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, the New York Daily News reports.

The former owner of the hospital, the State University of New York has received a subpoena from Bharara’s office asking for all communication between the university and City Hall relating to the sale of LICH, according to the Daily News.

The investigation seems in particular to be examining the role of the Mayor, with the subpoena asking for information dating back to 2013, when Bill de Blasio was still the city’s public advocate.

De Blasio was at the forefront of campaigning efforts to keep the hospital open when it announced that it was losing money and intended to sell to a developer. It was one of the strongest rallying points of his mayoral campaign. He was even arrested during his efforts, and subsequently sued the state to keep the hospital open.

That didn’t work, but soon after he became mayor in 2014, de Blasio struck a deal with SUNY and Governor Andrew Cuomo that would ensure a medical facility at the development that would replace the hospital, though local residents had hoped for something a lot more substantial.

Fortis Property Group finally closed on the property that summer, agreed to include a medical facility, but their planned redevelopment of the site is still faced with community opposition.

Another developer, Don Peebles was looking to purchase the LICH site, and had even bid on it. A DNAinfo investigation in May questioned whether the de Blasio administration had asked Peebles to contribute funds to a de Blasio administration-created non-profit in exchange for approvals on the developer’s project. Peebles told DNAinfo that he been called directly by the mayor to make a contribution, but Peebles’ bid on the LICH site didn’t make the cut in the end.

This latest revelation adds to a growing list of investigations now surrounding the de Blasio administration.


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