This just in from the CHA’s Jeff Strabone:
SUNY’s contempt hearing scheduled for Monday has been postponed for a month to allow new negotiations a chance.
The Cobble Hill Association and our allies in the movement to save LICH have agreed to a four-week adjournment of SUNY’s contempt hearing scheduled for Monday. Monday’s hearing would have called to the Court the SUNY Board of Trustees on accusations of criminal and civil contempt. As stated in Justice Johnny Lee Baynes’s Order to Show Cause of November 12, at stake was the question of whether the Court would “assess fines of $250,000 per day until such time as the Long Island College Hospital (‘LICH’) is fully operational and provides the same level of services it provided on April 1, 2013″. This contempt hearing has now been postponed until December 16 pending new negotiations between the parties.
According to the Agreement signed by the parties, “During the Standstill Period, SUNY shall devote sufficient resources to maintain, and shall maintain, current services at LICH, including but not limited to BLS [Basic Life Support] ambulance service, and shall not effectuate any layoffs during the Standstill Period.” If at any point during the four-week Standstill Period SUNY violates the Agreement, we are entitled to ask the Court to resume contempt proceedings immediately.
What makes this four-week period different from previous delays? After nearly a year of silence, Governor Cuomo’s own Counsel has joined the negotiations over the future of LICH. We welcome, at long last, the Governor’s attention. It seems that the threat of a contempt hearing and fines finally got his full attention. During the next four weeks, the parties will attempt to negotiate a resolution to the ongoing litigation. If no resolution is reached, the contempt hearing will proceed on December 16. The Cobble Hill Association and our allies will seek from these negotiations the protection of LICH’s assets and mission, the restoration of medical services, and full transparency in the RFP process to find a new operator for LICH. After a year of intransigence from the SUNY Trustees, we are cautiously optimistic that the Governor’s involvement may make progress possible.