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Politicians' E-mail Place New Hospital Into Downtown Utica

First Read: Complete/Searchable Email Text

Link to Political Emails Placing Hospital Into Downtown Utica

Introduction: Proof of the hospital's site selection process has now been re-confirmed. Hand-in-hand politicians, Mr. Steve DiMeo president of Mohawk Valley EDGE, and legal/lobbying firms worked to drive a new hospital concept into Downtown Utica.

Their hope was to accumulate heaps of money and favor from Albany and keep the process "low key" so public opinion would not become an issue. Public opinion was managed until finally they held "community listening sessions", but only after the downtown site was no longer up for debate.

Then on January 9, 2018 #NoHospitalDowntown began to release a few emails obtained by FOIL, they were taken for Here. The news media picked up on this, and after 48 hours the politicians' only defense was to act quickly, they had the UticaOD release "all" the Emails, perhaps hoping the storm would pass. Below we'll document the story and fallout... (read from the bottom up).

Another Look At #Emialgate

Where we read, "There should be little doubt where the idea of placing the hospital Downtown originated and how that decision was made", please follow link below and read all...

Downtown Hospital: Locally Conceived & Hatched

Read the emails - Here are just a few, but it is clear that politicians and MV EDGE guided the hospital into Downtown Utica...

BRINDISI: "I don't want public opinion derailing this."

From: Anthony Brindisi [mailto:abrindisi@bmbplawyers.com] Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 3:22 PM To: Steven DiMeo; Picente, Anthony Subject: Downtown Hospital

There is a Facebook group called No Downtown Hospital (link below) that is up to 300 members. I seem to remember the legislation stating there has to be community input on location. To date, I don't believe the hospital has done any of that. Members of the group include people like Ryan Miller from the Thinkubator, Michele Truett from the Downtown Development Association, John Brown from Coldwell Banker and a certain State Senator to remain nameless. I am not sure adding your name to the group means your're opposed. I can foresee this becoming an issue. Eventually, this will hit mainstream media so we should discuss how to combat this. I know Ray wants us to be low key on location but I don't want public opinion derailing this. Any thoughts? https://www.facebook.com/groups/981175865279398/members/

Anthony J. Brindisi Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi, & Pearlman LLP. 2713 Genesee Street Utica, New York 13501 Phone: 315-733-2396 Fax: 315-733-7933 Web: www.bmbplawyers.com Email: abrindisi@bmbplawyers.com -- Anthony J. Brindisi Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi, & Pearlman LLP. 2713 Genesee Street Utica, New York 13501 Phone: 315-733-2396 Fax: 315-733-7933 Web: www.bmbplawyers.com Email: abrindisi@bmbplawyers.com

BRINDISI: "the idiots will fill the vacuum left by our silence"

From: Anthony Brindisi [mailto:abrindisi@bmbplawyers.com] Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 6:38 AM To: Steven DiMeo Cc: Picente, Anthony Subject: Re: Hospital

"... there are some comments on my FB page about traffic, why a new hospital, loss of tax base, etc. These comments can easily be combated in a thoughtful response. That's why I think the op-Ed is a good start. If we don't have a communication strategy, the idiots will fill the vacuum left by our silence."

DiMeo: "Just do the friggin engineering"

On Sep 2, 2015, at 6:36 PM, Steven DiMeo wrote: This sounds like Brock. All emotion and no substance. I am curious as to who on the board he claims to be representing. The noise from an ambulance is just pure BS. Those of us who live near hospitals are not bothered by fire trucks or ambulance sirens. Psych Center site is near a fire house. Fire trucks don’ make noise? The notion of this area being ripe for redevelopment is laughable. It is largely a teardown start over area. The Baggs Square people Brent, Michelle, Beth Irons needs to get their heads out of their asses. This makes the Baggs Square area more compelling. I am of the view that the hospital has to get its act together to move forward. Just do the friggin engineering analysis and site assessment on downtown. That will help meet SEQRA requirements. All questions that need to be answered will be answered. This is not that complicated and I think they are comparing this to a straw man site that does not really exist. Their current site has complications. Unless they can save part of the hospital and incorporate that into the new building then I am not sure there is a cost differential. I will try and get that out of HAmmes tomorrow.

DiMeo: "make case for a downtown site"

On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Steven DiMeo wrote: I asked Lisa Nagle of Elan to provide me with a proposal to help with site study and capacity analysis for siting new hospital. Scott needs this for his board and help build consensus on a site option. Elan has engaged OBG to assist. I think they can get this done fairly quickly as we need to know if we can make case for a downtown site and in the process include it as part of the URF stragegy. I sent a copy of this to Scott to review as I want to make sure he is on board.

BRINDISI: "my preference for a downtown site"

From: Anthony Brindisi [mailto:abrindisi@bmbplawyers.com] Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2015 9:09 PM To: Steven DiMeo Cc: Picente, Anthony; Larry Gilroy (LTG@gkginsurance.com) Subject: Re: Hosptial Project We debated Health budget today in the Assembly Democratic Conference. We discussed the hospital and I advocated for it. Except for one member, there was not much resistance so I'm guessing the Assembly supports it. I hope Senate does the same. I spoke to Scott last week and relayed my preference for a downtown site. I know he has a Board to deal with but I hope he impresses upon them that a downtown site is preferable. I know there are many obstacles to a downtown site but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel the long term benefits justify the heavy lift it's going to take to get this done.

DiMeo: "guide siting decision in favor of downtown"

From: Steve DiMeo Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 9:14 PM To: Anthony Brindisi Cc: Tony Picente , Larry Gilroy Subject: RE: Hosptial Project I think downtown is doable but it will require extra funding that is likely only to come from URF. We need to make sure that Tobe sees this as transformational. He is the only person I have talked to date who pissed on this as a project. Everyone else who I have talked to sees this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring prosperity and vitality to downtown Utica. My whole thought process in bringing Elan on board is to make sure that we guide siting decision in favor of downtown. I think we can identify site. We will need to work acquisition, clearance and infrastructure improvements including parking structures. Hospital consultants say we need 3,000 parking spaces to make downtown work. I think that is on high side but we will review and incorporate enough parking into overall progam.

GILROY: "ensure that he understands direction"

On Feb 3, 2015, at 9:30 PM, "Larry Gilroy" wrote: Would you like me to reach out to Scott to ensure that he understands direction and if he needs any board help? Tony—any feedback on the hosptial from Tobe during your discussion yesterday? Thanks

DiMeo: "I am not sure what Scott is doing"

From: Steven DiMeo Sent: Friday, July 17, 2015 7:16 PM To: 'Picente, Anthony'; Anthony Brindisi (abrindisi@bmbplawyers.com) Subject: FW: Utica - MVHS Attachments: image001.jpg I am not sure what Scott is doing. Alicia said he called my office and said that he wwanted URI to include $82 M without any restriction on location. I know that Meier has talked to him and told him that this project is going to have to be downtown given political support and fact that Governor seems to be pushing this. Ray told me that Scott is of the view that everyone is trying to manage the hospital.

And there are always the hospital administrators' voices to confirm this...

MVHS CEO Perra: "Politicians Said Money Is For Downtown Only"

MVHS COO Scholefield: ""Our politicians are the ones..."

January 11, 2018 - The politicians dump a bunch of emails into the lap of the newspaper, officials emails about the downtown hospital project. Withhold many from MVEDGE, but offer two partially redacted emails...

Emails provided by Oneida County re: downtown hospital (710 pages, PDF)
Single Email (partially redacted) from Steve DiMeo, September 14, 2015 (PDF)
Single Email (partially redacted) from Steve DiMeo, November 14, 2015 (PDF)

Today's other hospital news stories and coverage...

Spectrum Local News, CNY: Emails About New Utica Hospital Project Leaked

WUTQ Talk Of The Town: Brett Truett and Jim Brock Discuss Hospital Emails

WUTR: Mohawk Valley Health System's President to Retire

WKTV2: Perra Reflects On Tenure At MVHS

#NoHospitalDowntown isn't anti-new hospital, we simply do not want a hospital in Downtown Utica. Here's Why We Oppose The Downtown Utica Hospital Concept and Many Agree!

No Studies, No Reports, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown