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Two Queens hospital executives indicted in bribery scheme

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Former Parkway Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robert Aquino and MediSys CEO David Rosen, who runs Jamaica, Flushing and Peninsula hospitals, were charged Thursday in a bribery conspiracy scheme after they allegedly made payments to state Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) in exchange for Kruger taking official acts on their behalf, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced.

Rosen was also charged with making payments to Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. (D-Brooklyn), who worked for MediSys before being elected to the Assembly in 2003, as part of the scheme and  receiving $3,000 a month as a no-show consultant, Bharara charged.

Kruger and Boyland were also charged with theft of honest services.

In a news conference at the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, Bharara referred to the constant stream of corrupted elected officials that his office has had to prosecute, including two once prominent Queens legislators: the late Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio and disgraced ex-Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin.

“Every single time we arrest a state senator or assemblyman, it should be a jarring wake-up call,” Bharara said. “Instead, it seems that no matter how many times the alarm goes off, Albany just hits the snooze button. Maybe this time they will get the message.”

Rosen allegedly had MediSys pay $390,000 in sham consulting fees to Seminerio, who died in January while serving time in a North Carolina prison on corruption charges.

Rosen was also charged Thursday with paying Boyland $177,368 for a no-show consulting job – $3,000 a month – from 2006 to 2011, according to the federal complaint.

The head of Medisys was also charged with conspiring to bribe Kruger in exchange for Kruger’s backing of MediSys to take over Mary Immaculate and St. John’s hospitals in Queens.  Both hospitals closed in early 2009.

Aquino allegedly contacted Kruger for the same reasons as Rosen and is accused of giving $60,000 to Salomon Kalish, a Brooklyn health care consultant, with half that amount eventually being funneled to Kruger, Bharara said.

Bharara said the funds were given to Kruger in exchange for him to lobby on behalf of Aquino to acquire Mary Immaculate and St. John’s.

Rosen and Aquino face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the charge of conspiracy to deprive New York state and its citizens of their legislators’ honest services.

The U.S. attorney would not comment on whether Seminerio or McLaughlin – who was a confidential informant against Seminerio – cooperated with authorities in the case unveiled Thursday.

Also charged was lobbyist Richard Lipsky, who allegedly gave $252,000 to a shell company called Olympian Strategic Development Corp., run by Brooklyn resident Michael Turano, who was described by Bharara as a close associate of Kruger.

While Lipsky is currently the lobbyist for Willets Point United, a group compromised of property owners, it is not alleged that he did anything illegal on the group’s behalf.

But Lipsky was charged with funneling $252,000 to Kruger through Olympian in exchange for Kruger’s backing bills that would help Lipsy’s clients and steering money to the clients, Bharara claimed.

An FBI raid of Lipsky’s office and home March 7 uncovered $102,000 from a safe within a closet in his home as well as $4,000 from the pocket of his suit, the criminal complaint said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:41 am, October 12, 2011
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