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Judge rules SUNY Downstate’s attempt to shut down LICH was ‘clear violation’

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COBBLE HILL, BROOKLYN (PIX11) – A judge’s ruling on Tuesday had some harsh words for SUNY Downstate that has been operating Long Island College Hospital for the past couple of years.

State Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Demarest said the fact that SUNY is attempting to close LICH is in “clear violation” of its commitment to keep it open.

After personally witnessing the ambulances being turned away from LICH, Justice Demarest said Tuesday, “There is no pretense that SUNY Downstate will continue to operate the hospital.”

This comes after she previously ordered SUNY to continue to operate LICH at its full capacity. When SUNY started making moves to shut it down is when the protests began to keep it open.

This latest ruling orders the hospital out of SUNY’s control and to be returned to its previous owner, Continuum Health Partners.

In a late Tuesday response, Continuum Health Partners reportedly said it was not able to take over LICH.

Still, some say, the ruling proves that this judge understands the need to keep the hospital open for the community.

City Council member Letitia James responded, “A court found in favor of healthcare and saw the importance to preserve and protect New Yorkers…neither Justice Demarest nor supporters of LICH were fooled by the deception of involved parties, whose only interest was to transfer assets and close down LICH so they can make a quick buck by building luxury housing.”

LICH sits on a prime piece of real estate with an estimated worth of half a billion dollars.

Justice Demarest said Tuesday that SUNY “misrepresented its intentions” at the onset of its takeover of the hospital two years ago, but SUNY denies any ulterior motives.

SUNY has said before, LICH’s financial problems are so dire that continuing to operate the hospital threatens the survival of SUNY’s other medical facilities.

With SUNY and Continuum Health Partners out of the equation as operators of the hospital, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that Justice Demarest will hold a press conference on Thursday at 10am to address the “orderly and expeditious return of assets to LICH and the future operation of LICH as a hospital,” when any person or entity interested in operating LICH as a hospital is invited to come to the table with a proposal.