Treating Rockaway Like A Mushroom
Rockaway has lost one of its major institutions, both in terms of vital health care and as one of the peninsula’s largest employers. There is lots of angst among the population about what will happen to the physical plant. Will it be reinvented as a different kind of health care facility? Will it be sold to some developer for condos? For low income housing? Only one person knows what is going on, and she is Lori Lapin Jones, the Bankruptcy Trustee appointed by Judge Elizabeth Stong. And she isn’t talking. Not to us, not even to the New York Times. The Wave has reported in recent weeks that Jones is planning to sell off all of the machinery, furniture and equipment associated with the hospital (but not the nursing home) sometime between now and the end of July. In addition, she has requested to hire a high-powered lobbying firm to legally separate the nursing home property from the hospital property in order to sell them in two packages. We know that because Jones had pursued legal motions to ask permission from the court to do those things, and that is public information. Other things, however, are being held closely by Jones. In May, she reportedly received a number of proposals from those who want to buy the property. What do they want to do with it? Jones won’t say. When will a decision be made? Jones won’t say. How much is being offered by the bidders? Jones won’t say. All she continues to say is that she is mandated to get the best deal for the creditors, not for the community. Rockaway is being treated like a mushroom. Jones is keeping us in the dark and shoveling manure all over us. It is clear now that it will never reopen as the hospital we remember –fondly or not so fondly. Nevertheless, the community has a right to know what is going on with the PHC property. Only Jones can provide that information.