On Monday, SUNY pulled the plug on the latest plan to redevelop Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn amid concerns the developer couldn't deliver on its proposal. But now that developer is speaking out, telling NY1 in an exclusive interview it plans to take SUNY to court. Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
With Monday marking a crucial deadline in the process to redevelop Long Island College Hospital, top bidder Brooklyn Health Partners says it submitted all required documents and a $25 million deposit.
In return, it got a termination letter.
“SUNY stopped negotiating with us 10 days ago,” said Merrell Schexnydre, president and CEO of Brooklyn Health Partners.
Speaking publicly for the first time in an exclusive interview with NY1, the leadership team of Brooklyn Health Partners said Tuesday it plans to file suit against SUNY, which they say did not negotiate in good faith, imposing onerous requirements and cutting off contact in recent days.
Schexnydre rejects the idea that financing was an issue, noting the $25 million deposit was non-refundable.
“I would think that that would speak volumes to the fact that we feel confident we can finance this project. Who’s got $25 million to throw away?” said Schexnydre.
SUNY is now moving on to the No. 2 bidder, a group headed by developer Don Peebles.
In partnership with Maimonides, North Shore-LIJ and ProHEALTH, the Peebles Corporation would provide around the clock emergency room with ambulance services, urgent care and other health-care services. But its proposal contains no affordable housing component, and Schexnydre notes that unlike his group, Peebles would not maintain a full-service hospital.
Now, he says, “I can tell you what’s not going to happen. There will never be a full-service hospital or any hospital at SUNY.”
Over the last couple of weeks, Brooklyn Health Partners had lost the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as the unions representing hospital workers. But Brooklyn Health Partners now says that's because of a gag order that prevented them from telling their side of the story.
“There was a lot of negative media, some of it leaked by SUNY against us and all they could see was that one side,” said Schexnydre.
Brooklyn Health Partners says it’s still interested in the deal, but given the bad blood, that scenario would appear unlikely, unless, that is, the courts step in.