Preet Bharara investigating de Blasio’s role in LICH site sale
Subpoena comes amid Campaign for One New York probes
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating Mayor Bill de Blasio’s role in the sale of the Long Island College Hospital site in Cobble Hill.
Bharara’s office subpoenaed the State University of New York, seeking all communication between City Hall and the school about the sale dating back to when de Blasio took office, the Daily News reported. Authorities also subpoenaed emails and other communication dating back to de Blasio’s days as the city’s public advocate.
At that time, de Blasio had publicly opposed the sale of the Cobble Hill site and campaigned to keep the hospital open. But shortly after taking office, de Blasio struck a deal with SUNY to keep healthcare services at the site, but not necessarily a full-fledged hospital.
Fortis Group [TRDataCustom] purchased the site in 2014 for $240 million. The developer — which hired lobbyist James Capalino to engage with City Hall aides — plans to demolish two buildings on the site and either build a luxury condo building or a series of apartment towers that would include affordable housing. The mayor supported the latter approach, which would require a rezoning of the site.
In May, developer Don Peebles alleged that de Blasio called him in March 2014 asking for money for the nonprofit that eventually became the mayor’s Campaign for One New York. At the time, Peebles was finalizing what would be a losing bid to purchase the LICH site. Bharara has turned his attention to the LICH site sale as his and other investigations surrounding the mayor’s fundraising activities continue. [NYD] —