Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Justice Demarest to Stay On Top of Othmer Endowment in SUNY - LICH Deal

In one, elegant move, state Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Demarest changed the game concerning the recently-negotiated SUNY - LICH agreement.

The agreement, devised under Justice Johnny Lee Baynes,  will allow a real, honest RFP to be offered for Long Island College Hospital (LICH) . . . but Justice Demarest had to sign it first.

Sources told the Brooklyn Eagle that before signing the LICH – SUNY settlement papers on Monday, Justice Demarest made some handwritten changes to the agreement.

The most important change, the sources said, makes clear that Judge Demarest retains jurisdiction over the trust-related issues -- so that SUNY must go back to her to complete any transaction.

This includes the quickly disappearing $140 million Othmer Endowment, which LICH supporters had despaired would be totally lost when they had to agree to drop all charges against SUNY in return for an honest RFP.

This important insertion by Justice Demarest is another layer of oversight to that provided already by Justice Baynes, who said in court that he was going to make sure everyone was treated with the respect they deserved.

Brooklyn is very fortunate to be served by Justice Baynes and Justice Demarest! 

LICH – SUNY deal OK'd with Addition: Brooklyn judge retains jurisdiction over Othmer Endowment [Brooklyn Eagle]

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Anonymous said...

Clearly your job was saved at LICH, and I appreciate your optimism, but there are no guarantees that jobs will be saved permanently or that there will be an ER, which was the focus point. The large print giveth, the small print taketh. See, e.g., Atlantic Yards, promises of local hiring at IKEA, Brooklyn Bridge Park without commercial properties or housing, and the list goes on and on.

Demarest and Baynes will now be restricted to interpreting this present settlement agreement, which will be narrow case of contract interpretation, versus their respective broader mandate to render justice and equity as part of their judicial roles to protect assets under the not for profit corporation law. I haven't seen the actual settlement agreement, but this is how court cases get resolved and how promises are made but later avoided. If you see the actual agreement, look to the remedies section and who, and how, the agreement gets enforced, and under what legal standard. From what I've read, this is only a surface political win. Even at 49% input, the real control is the 51%. In corporate law, 0wnership of a minority percentage of the vote means nothing and is effectively worthless--the majority vote is all that matters. Nothing I've read suggests that the "community" had majority control or effective majority control.

Anonymous said...

The difference is: a backroom deal cooked up with a chosen developer with no emphasis on keeping a hospital and no community input;
an open, honest process where scores are weighted in favor of a hospital operator and everyone gets to see what SUNY is up to -- including Justice Demareast, who knows well what SUNY is capable of.

Anonymous said...

That's fine, as long as you realize there are no guarantees, even with the open honest process, and that the open honest process will not result in an ongoing ER, which was the raison d'etre for the push to keep LICH open. Nothing in the agreement requires any of this. Demarest may have the right heart, but the legal standard has now changed. It's like a magic--it's now what you see but what's been done BEFORE you see that matters. There's been a sleight of hand done and it's not visible unless you know what to look for. I may be wrong, but I strongly doubt it. And, to be sure, I'm not trying to convince you but just to give you a heads up so that when it happens, you'll know how it happened.

In Godfather terms, everyone told Sonny not to leave: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJU2cz9ytPQ

Anonymous said...

part of the settlement included allowing SUNY to begin layoffs so they can close the doors in May if no operator can take over by then. No jobs are saved. The fight was not about jobs. It was about stopping SUNY from locking the doors & leaving a medical desert here. With a new fair RFP that emphasizes hospital & medical services instead of real estate, we did not fight in vain.

Anonymous said...

and those people who lose jobs in this transition come back when the new operator needs to hire staff.

Anonymous said...

Seven elected officials, unions and Patients for LICH pretty much won what they asked for, which was a new, honest, open RFP that the world could see, aimed at finding a new hospital operator.

They did not ask for unicorns and rainbows. If there is no one who wants a ready-made hospital in a booming part of Brooklyn, then it may close or turn into some clinic thing, and jobs will disappear.

You seem to think the whole thing was to magically keep 1200 people working while no one is operating the hospital. The best anyone could hope for was an honest and open and quick RFP reissue, which everyone fought for, including NYSNA and 1199.

No one fought for the impossible. Everyone fought for a simple reissue of the RFP.

If SUNY had only done the honest, right thing a year ago, they could have saved LICH $200 million dollars and would have been able to hand the new operator a functionoing hospital. But they seem to break everything they touch.

mcbrooklyn said...

We don't work at LICH, but want it for us there when we need it.