Monday, March 21, 2011

Scott Siegel: HUMC faiy tales and misdeeds

Hoboken Resident Scott Siegel speaks up on the chicanery from Beth Mason and Mike Russo on the HUMC potential sale and the process associated with it.

HUMC fairy tales and misdeeds

Dear Editor:

Once again we are witnessing unfortunate interference from Beth Mason and Michael Russo, this time regarding HUMC. As someone who is a “stakeholder” on the public/HUMC board, I can assure employees and Hoboken citizens that not one person spoke of closing or unnecessarily downsizing HUMC. We did agree to adhere to Mayor Zimmer’s goals of removing the $52 million millstone from Hoboken's taxpayer’s neck and keeping HUMC operating as an acute care facility. The bond documents clearly state that that the HUMC board is an autonomous entity. This was not done by accident. Hoboken has a history of patronage and corruption. Hudson Healthcare was created to limit undo outside influence. The vote for HoldCo was unanimous.

Michael Russo is upset that there is only a seven year guarantee from the best bidder HoldCo, which owns the Bayonne Hospital. The original deal he voted on had a zero year guaranty. In fact, Bon Secours was so worried that HUMC would turn into condos that they insisted on split of proceeds if this was done within eight years. If Michael Russo thinks seven years is to short, why did he vote the way he originally did? The answer is politricks.

Beth Mason is once again employing outside groups trying to put a monkey wrench in this process. She is utilizing NJ Appleseed in an effort to highjack the open and transparent process that I am involved with. You simply do not negotiate in public. There are monthly open public meetings and there were two stakeholder meetings. Originally, not one entity bid on what was to become HUMC. This time there were eight bidders. Two did not fit Mayor Zimmer’s goals. Although I can’t tell you why HoldCo was chosen, it appears that the synergy of two local hospitals is the reason. In today’s challenging health care market very few hospitals can do and be everything. We need to recognize that some HUMC operations will be curtailed, while others can be expanded within a sharing relationship or affiliation with Bayonne. This synergy gives Bayonne the advantage over out of state entities.

Beth Mason and her husband have criticized the city of Hoboken guaranteeing HUMC’s debt. Now she seems to want to stop the sale of the hospital. Once again it’s pure politricks at work. There is no reason why Hoboken taxpayers should be on the hook for $52 million plus interest. But Beth Mason and Michael Russo appear to favor that. Once negotiations are completed with HoldCo or another entity, HUMC Board President Toni Tomarazzo has promised to release all bidder information to the public and hold public hearings. This is because unlike Mason/Russo, Toni respects the process and the sanctity of closed session information. This is becoming a disturbing pattern for the Mason/Russo majority. For some reason they believe that they are both the legislative and executive branches. I urge my fellow citizens to let the process play out and not to interfere with delicate negotiations.

Scott M. Siegel
Hoboken Resident ◦