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SUNY Pulls Out of Deal With Top Bidder for LICH Site

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TWC News: SUNY Pulls Out of Deal With Top Bidder for LICH Site
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The future of Long Island College Hospital is back in limbo after negotiations fell apart between SUNY Downstate and the bidder that was going to take over the space, leaving those who depend on the hospital wondering what's next. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Andrea Gaston comes to Long Island College hospital for heart issues. Like many people depending on health care from Long Island College Hospital, she's tired of the ups and downs of the facility's prognosis.

"I'm devastated," she said.

Devastated because negotiations collapsed Monday between the group selected to buy and redevelop the property as a full-service hospital, Brooklyn Health Partners, and the current administrator, SUNY Downstate.

Brooklyn Health Partners said it produced all necessary documents, including a $25 million down payment, but SUNY had concerns about the viability of the bid, including Brooklyn Health Partners' ability to operate a temporary health care facility while it developed a new hospital.

Saving LICH has been a major rallying point for Mayor Bill de Blasio, particularly during his campaign for mayor last year. He also held a celebratory press conference in February when the latest bidding process was laid out.

SUNY Downstate issued a statement Monday, saying, "SUNY remains unwavering in its commitment to protecting community health care services and a viable long-term solution for Long Island College Hospital. Therefore, SUNY is moving forward with the second-highest scoring proposal."

The number two bidder, the Peebles Corporation, proposed maintaining some health care services on the site but not a full-service hospital.

SUNY gives up control on May 22 whether or not another operator is found.

Community activists fighting for a full-service hospital believe the worst.

"SUNY rigged the process," said Jeff Strabone of the Cobble Hill Association. "They put a hospital in the number one position, and lo and behold, it failed. Well, the second and third positions are non-hospital real estate developers. The process was supposed to rank hospitals at the top. It didn't. It put a failed team at the top, and now, it's going to be kicked over to real estate developers."

SUNY Downstate did not respond to that conspiratorial claim.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Health Partners said it's meeting with its attorneys to determine its next course of action, claiming SUNY failed to negotiate in good faith.

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