A group of former employees from the now-defunct St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center will file suit Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court, accusing management of grossly exaggerating the institution’s debt, blowing millions of dollars on their executives and consultants.
The 160-year-old institution was swimming in a billion dollars of red ink when it closed its doors in April.
Court papers reveal the hospital forked over $278,000 for a golf outing, paid its top 10 executives a combined $10 million annually, spent $17 million for management consultants and spent nearly $4 million on professional fundraising. The papers also show tax returns show the former Greenwich Village facility spent $104 million on unspecified costs listed as “other.”
Plaintiffs’ attorneys say they hope the legal action will force the State Department Of Health to release paperwork that shine a light on what really happened to all that money.
“We estimate the amount of public money that we can track at this point that was going to this hospital was approximately $700 million,” said attorney Thomas D. Shanahan. “The public deserves better than to hear a hospital was ‘bankrupt’ under a crushing $1 billion debt, when it seems they had substantial public monies coming in and that the hospital was mismanaged.”
“We’re trying to compel the Department of Health to do the right thing, not only in disclosing the records that they already have receipt of, but also they should be holding public hearings,” said attorney Yetta Kurland. “There is a greater imperative and a greater responsibility that the DOH has to ensure the health and safety of Lower Manhattan.”
Plaintiffs are hoping the civil suit will result in a new medical center to be opened on or near the site of the former hospital.
The hospital’s collapse has put an end to inpatient care and taken away the only emergency room serving hundreds-of-thousands of people on Manhattan’s Lower West Side. The community feels vulnerable, especially in light of their experiences during and after the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.