From Forest Hills Patch:
In the midst of a push to reopen Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, the former top executive at the hospital was arrested on Thursday, caught up in a bribery sting involving state Sen. Carl Kruger, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Dr. Robert Aquino, who spent years fighting to keep Parkway Hospital from closing, and since its closure, fighting to reopen it, was arrested and charged with bribing the state senator in 2008.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, after the arrests were announced, expressed anger and consternation at the sheer number of state officials who have been tied up in bribery and corruption incidents.
In the complaint, Aquino is alleged to have paid $60,000 to one of a pair of shell companies set up by Kruger, in exchange for his help in 2008 lobbying to allow then-open Parkway Hospital to purchase to other Queens medical centers.
The plan, though widely publicized at the time, never came to fruition. Since the hospital's closure, Aquino has been aggressive in trying to reopen the facility, including writing a letter to Gov. David Paterson during the last month of his term to convince him to restore the hospital's operating certificate.
From the NY Times:
Starting in 2006, Mr. Rosen fought to block Wyckoff Heights Medical Center from buying two Catholic hospitals in Queens, Mary Immaculate and St. John’s. He feared that a takeover, which required state approval, would make Mary Immaculate a stronger competitor and would put nearby Jamaica Hospital out of business.
Medisys then tried to acquire the Catholic hospitals to keep them out of Wyckoff’s hands. Parkway Hospital also tried to buy them, and Mr. Seminerio and Mr. Kruger became involved in the dispute. Eventually, the two Catholic hospitals closed.