A federal investigation into Mayor de Blasio’s role in the sale of Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital has put some of his most committed union supporters in the hot seat.
On Friday, July 29, the New York Times reported that several workers for the brawny health care union S.E.I.U. 1199 have received federal subpoenas.
When contacted by the Daily News, the union’s spokesman David Bates declined to comment.
In 2015 U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara opened a probe into the sale of Long Island College Hospital (LICH). The hospitals previous owner, the State University of New York (SUNY) had already been issued a subpoena.
All communications since de Blasio come into office on January 2, 2014, about the sale of the site in Cobble Hill between City Hall and the university system are being sought by the subpoena. According to two sources of the Daily News, the subpoena also specifies emails and other communication from de Blasio and top aides Tony Shorris, Emma Wolfe, Dominic Williams, Avi Fink and Henry Berger.
The Daily News reports, “In addition, Bharara’s office wants all communication from 2013 between SUNY and de Blasio’s campaign and his fund-raiser Ross Offinger, as well as various groups tied to the mayor such as the Campaign For One New York, UPKNYC, and United for Affordable NYC.”
On Friday, July 29, a spokesperson for City Hall said the feds had not contacted it.
The spokesperson said, “The administration hasn't been subpoenaed, but we will of course share whatever appropriate information is requested of us during any review of this matter.”
According to the Daily News, “LICH was a money-losing state-run hospital that SUNY sought to close and sell to private developers. But de Blasio, as public advocate and during his mayoral campaign, said he would fight to keep the property as a full-service hospital. He sued the state and rallied the community, but ultimately failed.
Not long after taking office as mayor in 2014, de Blasio changed his tune and struck a deal with SUNY and Gov. Cuomo that guaranteed health-care services at the site — but stopped short of meeting community demands for a full-service hospital.”
Eventually the property was purchased by the Fortis Property Group, which planned to convert it into housing with a freestanding emergency department, but that project has come to a halt.