Orange County Supreme Court Judge Elaine Slobod announced a decision earlier this week upholding reports that former Wyckoff Heights Hospital Center CEO Dominick Gio used a secret bank account to bribe an exiled – and now deceased – state Assemblyman.
Slobod’s decision came from a lawsuit filed by a former chief financial officer at the hospital, Wah-Chung Hsu, who was fired in 2010 and denied his $525,000 severance package. Hospital officials attributed the firing to “legal wrongdoing,” alleging that Hsu knew about the secret bank account.
However, Slobod ruled that there was no evidence that Hsu knew about the account or the bribes and decided he should get his severance.
According to the case, although 397 Himrod Corporation, which former Wyckoff Board Chair Emil Rucigay originally set up to buy real estate to build a new parking lot, was dissolved in 2001, as of 2008 there was $130,000 left in its bank account.
Former Far Rockaway Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio accepted $15,000 from Gio from the account in exchange for lobbying a deputy mayor for city property Wyckoff wanted to buy for a women’s health center, lawyers charged in a 2009 fraud case.
Seminerio died in a North Carolina prison last year.
Wyckoff Hospital has since experienced some major changeovers – with an interim CEO, Ramon Rodriguez, and a new board chair, Gary Goffner.
The hospital is currently under investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office for conflicts of interest among board members and spending from former CEO Rajiv Garve, who allegedly used three hospital-owned cars, including a stretch-limo.
Board members declined to comment on the record about Slobod’s decision, but one said that none of the information revealed in the lawsuit came as surprise to the current board.