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August 6, 2011

Post: Markowitz gave capital funds to hospital that paid for trip; BP says every hospital gets money; records suggest this hospital did well

Atlantic Yards Report

Now that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has pushed back against a ruling that cost him $20,000 in fines from the city Conflict of Interests Board, the New York Post is looking a little more closely at potential quid pro quo activity.

In today's article, headlined Carib junketeer Marty 'repays' favor to hosp, the newspaper reported:

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz delivered more than $2.5 million in capital funds last year to the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene -- which paid his way on a Caribbean junket in 2007, The Post has learned.

...One of those trips in 2007 was to the island of Grenada, where the Brooklyn Hospital Center covered airfare and lodging bills estimated at $1,000 to $5,000.

Markowitz listed the purpose of the visit on financial-disclosure forms as: "Promoted intercourse in health-care innovations and Brooklyn as a tourist destination."

He also met with officials of St. George's University medical school, which sends students to the Fort Greene hospital for training.

Every hospital that asks?

The BP's office told the Post pointed out that, since 2007, every hospital in Brooklyn that applied for capital money received an award.

Perhaps, but it looks like the Brooklyn Hospital Center did well. In 2009, the one year for which I have details, two hospitals were funded, at much lower numbers: Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center got $700,000, while Long Island College Hospital got $295,000.

Reasons for concern

However, the Post found a watchdog to say the obvious:

But Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, called the combination of the freebie trip and the government handout worrisome.

"The capital item for the Brooklyn Hospital may be entirely needed. But in the context of him having visited Grenada on their nickel, it raises questions," said Dadey.

link

Posted by steve at August 6, 2011 10:57 PM