Top LICH bidder back in the saddle if it can muster $225 million • Brooklyn Paper

Top LICH bidder back in the saddle if it can muster $225 million

If the state opts to close Long Island College Hospital, its campus will become a hot commodity for housing developers, real estate experts say.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The company that won the right to redevelop Long Island College Hospital, then had it snatched away, will regain it if it can produce proof by Tuesday that it has access to the $250 million it pledged to purchase the place.

The stipulation came out of a lengthy court hearing on Thursday, which was convened after the state torpedoed talks with Brooklyn Health Partners and the medical developer sued to get back in the negotiation seat. Judge Johnny Lee Baynes ordered the state to deposit the $25-million check the company gave it as a down payment and for the company come back with a letter of credit showing it has access to the rest of the cash. Brooklyn Health Partners claimed in its lawsuit that the state shot down its proposal for no reason and that it will come up with the money, no problem.

“Brooklyn Health Partners only wanted the opportunity to perform, and on Tuesday, we will perform,” spokeswoman Donnette Dunbar said.

State lawyers, who wanted to see $600 million in financing from Brooklyn Health Partners, said the company has not come up with a capable enough team to keep medical services going after the hospital closes on May 22 and that Peebles Corporation, the second-ranked bidder, has a more promising partner, Borough Park’s Maimonides Medical Center.

“They have demonstrated that they cannot provide what they proposed,” state lawyer Kenneth Fisher said.

But Brooklyn Health Partners head Merrell Schexnydre said he is “absolutely” confident that the company will have all $250 million accounted for by Tuesday, and his reps promised to start negotiating with hospital workers and unions to form a team that could keep services going under a temporary operating license, which the Department of Health could issue to a qualified group with the financial wherewithal. The state plans to cease operations at 7 am on May 22 if no one has stepped up to run the medical center and the spurned bidder said it does not want to see that happen.

“It’s in our client’s interest to keep the lights on,” Brooklyn Health Partners founding partner Larry English said. “We made a commitment to these people.”

An attorney representing seven anti-closure community groups in a lawsuit against the state has also sued to challenge the scoring system used to rank the nine redevelopment proposals. The system was imposed as part of a court settlement meant to give more weight to pitches that included uninterrupted medical service and a full-service hospital, but the groups now say six scorers deviated from that and should have their evaluations struck from the total that helped push two no-hospital plans into second and third places. One scorer gave the four full-service hospital plans a zero, according to the lawyer, who said Prime Healthcare Services — a California-based hospital management corporation that wants to run a hospital with 100 beds to start — should be next in line if the Brooklyn Health Partners plan falls through again.

Staffers also claimed that the state recently tossed $15 million worth of hospital equipment in the garbage, including desks and furniture. One hospital staffer, who did not want to be identified, said she spoke to a driver who said he filled four dumpsters full of the stuff in one week. A state attorney vehemently denied the allegations, but Baynes said he may order the state to bring back equipment if it has actually been disposed of.

“We may go on a fact-finding exhibition,” Baynes said.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Shown the door: Brooklyn Health Partners head Merrell Schexnydre says the state is trying to sabotage his bid.
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