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De Blasio: SUNY Downstate Will Be In Big Trouble If It Closes LICH

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio warned SUNY Downstate Tuesday that it will find itself in serious legal hot water if it does not comply with a judge's order to keep Long Island College Hospital open.

"He said at a Monday hearing to hold SUNY in contempt for violating the temporary restraining order," de Blasio said. "That means the judge is considering financial penalties against SUNY officials."

De Blasio: SUNY Downstate Will Be In Big Trouble If It Closes LICH

The judge is also referring the case to the district attorney for possible criminal charges related to legal denial of medical care, de Blasio said.

SUNY said it is losing $15 million keeping LICH open, and it is looking for another company to take over.

De Blasio said if SUNY is committed to that plan, "they would be working right now with doctors and nurses in the community to figure out a transitional plan that could work."

De Blasio said if the hospital is allowed to close before such a thing happens, condos will be erected where it stands rather than health care.

Last week, SUNY Downstate received approval from the State Department of Health on Friday to shut down the hospital.

The letter from the health department, dated July 19, said the hospital could begin to stop admitting patients to the emergency room on July 22 and close almost everything else on July 29, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported. But soon afterward, de Blasio announced that a restraining order had been obtained to prevent the hospital's closure.

The hospital did not close this past weekend as the health department suggested it could.

Downstate has been trying to close the hospital for months.

The building is on waterfront property that overlooks lower Manhattan.

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