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Election cash flowed from hospital

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Jamaica Hospital's ties to state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill) were established well before the corruption case against the 30-year lawmaker was unveiled last week.

The U.S. attorney in Manhattan accused Seminerio of taking more than $500,000 in illegal payments, including $310,000 from an unnamed hospital, which is widely believed to be Jamaica Hospital.

Seminerio has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the top executives of Jamaica Hospital since 1999, campaign finance records show.

Since that year the 73-year-old assemblyman got $10,000 from Jamaica Hospital Chief Executive Officer David Rosen, $6,500 from Chief Operating Officer Bruce Flanz and $8,250 from Chief Financial Officer Mounir Doss.

The lawmaker also teamed up with former state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin in 1999 to help Jamaica Hospital take over Flushing Hospital.

Speculation as to the identity of two unnamed hospital executives in the criminal complaint against Seminerio focused on Jamaica Hospital because one of the executives mentioned he was interested in acquiring a hospital.

Jamaica Hospital is known to have its eyes set on buying Mary Immaculate in Jamaica and St. John's Hospital in Elmhurst.

Ole Pedersen, a spokesman for MediSys Health Network, which owns Jamaica Hospital, declined to comment on the criminal complaint.

"We have no response," Pedersen said. "We're not putting out a comment at this moment."

A hospital source said if Jamaica Hospital executives were the ones who paid Seminerio $310,000 in consulting fees to curry favor with state Department of Health officials in its plans to acquire Mary Immaculate and St. John's, it could severely diminish the hospital's chances to purchase the hospitals.

"It would lead to a major overhaul of the whole hospital system," the source said, referring to MediSys, which also owns Flushing Hospital and Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center.

Conversely, the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, the other institution interested in Mary Immaculate and St. John's, may be favored to acquire the hospitals.

The source said Mary Immaculate and St. John's have been losing $2 million a month since they were sold to Caritas in June 2006.

"The state poured in a lot of money when those hospitals were acquired to help the owner maintain viability," the source said.

North Shore-LIJ has had discussions with the state DOH and Caritas about the hospitals, according to hospital spokesman Terry Lynam, but he said the health system was not bribing Seminerio or any other elected official to ensure a favorable outcome.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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