After weeks of denial, State University of New York officials have admitted in court that real estate was discussed during a closed-door meeting on the future of the financially troubled Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, the Brooklyn Paper reported. The revelation has effectively led to a delay of the target closure date, set for May 21.
The hospital’s $500 million property holdings were discussed in a private meeting held on Feb. 7 that activists believed should have been public, according to court documents seen by the Brooklyn Paper.
The secret meeting led the SUNY board of trustees to vote unanimously in February to close the 200,000-square-foot building, a move that some have criticized as a land grab. Indeed, previous reports have indicated the complex could fetch up to $500 million from a real estate developer.
Local activists, who believe that the private meeting was illegal, have won a temporary restraining order, which keeps the hospital open pending further hearings.
Still, Robert Bellafiore, a spokesman for the hospital, maintained that even though real estate was discussed, it was not necessarily a significant part of the conversation.
Though current employees are breathing a sigh of relief, officials are dismayed. “Further delay in the closure of LICH will dangerously deplete SUNY funds, and risk serious patient safety issues,” said one legal memo, obtained by the Brooklyn Paper. [Brooklyn Paper] –Sanna Chu