Mike Russo at Hospital meeting: ‘You can not sell the hospital’
Here is the City’s video taken at the last hospital board meeting January 4th announcing the 60 day negotiation with the selected bidder. (The City has fixed its incomplete video.)
Most interesting and unreported is the segment with Councilman Mike Russo. At the 19:20 mark he speaks and informs the Hospital Board they can not sell the hospital – he says they do not have the authority to do so. According to the “bond documents,” he says, “the Hospital Authority does not have the right to sell the hospital.”
He then goes on to tell them they need to speak to their bond lawyer and understand they can’t sell the hospital. Then he discusses the “role” the City Council must play and how they are not in the loop and states they must be given the information to do their “due diligence.” He actually says a lot of things here and wants all the information released to him on the City Council volunteering to sign a confidentiality agreement. No one is moved by this. (You do recall the circus on the Municipal Garage moving to Jackson Street don’t you? Who exactly misled all those people it would go there?)
Apparently, his reputation for leaking confidential information is well known. The City Council put the taxpayers on the hook for the whole hospital and is the last place you’d go to see this properly managed now.
There’s additional discussion about in and out of network coverage although it’s not clear how this may be sorted out in any potential sale. Mike Russo is very concerned about that as he doesn’t want to pay out of network cost for services. The taxpayers having a $52 million dollar liability hanging over their heads, that’s of no real concern. He’s perfectly fine with that liability being carried indefinitely. He doesn’t pay any taxes.
At a recent City Council meeting after this video was taken, the discussion on the hospital came up. It wasn’t until almost a half hour of discussion when Councilman Ravi Bhalla spoke that the taxpayer liability was even mentioned. He was joined in a comprehensive overview in that by Councilman Peter Cunningham.
Somehow this went completely unreported. See it for yourself at the 19:20 mark:
Talking Ed Note: Mike Russo is wrong and he’s certainly no bond expert. But hey, he gave it the old college try. He should stick to counting quarters. Millions of them missing at the Parking Utility was difficult enough for him to find under John Corea, the predecessor to Director Ian Sacs. (He seems to have it confused who is the good Director and who was the bad thieving one.)
Council members Beth Mason, Peter Cunningham and Terry Castellano also attended but did not speak. At the end of the meeting with the mayor’s concluding remarks, Terry Castellano would not even look at her.
That’s a real divide, not imaginary in Hoboken.
Concluding comments from Mayor Dawn Zimmer: