NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Former employees at St. Vincent’s Hospital filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit Monday, charging that management squandered cash and cooked the books. As CBS 2’s Magee Hickey reports, they want to know why the hospital had to close.
“We want to make sure that the Department of Health does the right thing, that they disclose this information, that we get to the bottom of the serious questions that were raised, that we get to the bottom of what went wrong,” said attorney Yetta Kurland.
“We need to get to the bottom of this information. What did happen, where did money go, and what was the reasons for St. Vincent’s collapsing on itself in just a matter of days and closing so quickly?” Kurland said.
The lawyers for the group calling itself the Coalition for New Village Hospital claim that top executives looted the now closed hospital, allegedly spending millions in highly questionable expenses. Among the excesses the lawyers claim $278,000 was spent on a golf outing, $17 million for management consultants and $3.8 million on professional fundraising.
“This particular lawsuit is absolutely essential because we think that things happened that simply should not have happened, that there are records, and only people with the ability to subpoena and ask questions will ever get the information,” said Dr. Josh Targovnick, former St. Vincent’s employee.
Lawyers also claim that a $1 billion debt was exagerrated in part because of other loans dumped on St. Vincent’s by other medical institutions run by the Brooklyn Diocese. The Diocese denied that ever happened.
“I am a two-time survivor of cancer and a two-time survivor of heart attacks. I live only four blocks from St. Vincent’s and I don’t like the fact that they closed illegally,” said Timothy Lunceford, Village resident.
The urgent care center promised for the location of St. Vincent’s has never materialized, but these activists don’t want an urgent care center. They want a full fledged hospital.
“It’s disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful. People need a hospital. This hospital served so many people in this neighborhood,” said teacher Michael Rucci.
CBS 2’s calls to the Sisters of Charity which ran St. Vincent’s have gone unanswered.