Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Took So Long?

by Gary Snyder

The board of trustees at the nonprofit MediSys Health Network fired its indicted chief executive. What took so long? The board acted this month when David Rosen was charged with bribing three politicians: the late Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, State Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. Mr. Rosen has pleaded not guilty. They declined to suspend or fire Mr. Rosen after he was implicated in the bribery and corruption indictment of Mr. Seminerio in September 2008. Some board members' unusually close ties to Mr. Rosen may be the reason. There are four interrelated boards of trustees connected to the indicted executive—MediSys and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center—the system also includes Flushing and Brookdale hospitals. The boards have a higher-than-usual concentration of trustees who also work at the hospitals, making them dependent on Mr. Rosen for their paychecks. Others have been board members for decades.
The MediSys-related boards are unusual. Crain's New York noted one member, Queens restaurateur Anthony Federici, is described in media reports as a captain in the Genovese crime family. The boards include a notable number of doctors working at the system, including Brookdale's Dr. Alvin Kahn. He is listed in the hospital's 2009 tax forms as chairman under a section for trustees, directors and officers, with compensation of $307,412. Dr. Kahn is 82, and his salary has puzzled state officials, who believe that he is being paid for his role as trustee. Dr. Kahn's daughter also is on one of the four boards. Another board member, businessman Alex Rovt once offered to loan Brookdale money to meet its operating expenses. He asked for hospital real estate as collateral. The chairman of Mr. Rovt's company, Steven Plotnick, and one of its attorneys, Irina Benfeld, also are on MediSys-related boards. A former counsel, Margaret Johnson, claims that trustees “vote the way Rosen directs.” The trustees “are a mere alter ego of Rosen (and a few others).”
MediSys are the subject of a 2009 lawsuit by a former Brookdale general counsel who seeks $100 million in damages, alleging wrongful termination and claiming that conflicts of interests were rampant at the boards under Mr. Rosen's control.
Mr. Rosen, earned about $1.8 million in 2009 and two associates earned $1.4 million each.
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