By Howard Koplowitz
Three MediSys employees testified in Manhattan federal court last Thursday that late state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, who was hired as a consultant to the health system, did little for MediSys in the bribery trial of their former boss, David Rosen.
Rosen is charged with paying Seminerio $300,000 in exchange for the assemblyman’s acting on behalf of MediSys’ interests in Albany.
He is also charged with bribing state Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. (D-Brooklyn) to favor the hospitals and giving Boyland a no-show consulting job with MediSys.
MediSys is the parent company of Jamaica, Flushing, Peninsula and Brookdale hospitals.
Steven Bory, president and chief executive officer of Neighborhood Healthcare Providers — an affiliated health care plan of MediSys — testified in Manhattan federal court last Thursday that he and Rosen signed an agreement with Marc Consultants, Seminerio’s sham consulting company, after a meeting at a midtown restaurant in 1997.
Federal prosecutors allege Seminerio did little or no consulting work.
Bory, who was not charged by the government, testified that he never suggested Seminerio pass legislation or that the late assemblyman get involved in “substantitive issues” on behalf of Neighborhood Healthcare Providers.
Seminerio died in a North Carolina prison while serving time on corruption charges after pleading guilty to setting up Marc Consultants to take in $300,000 in illegal payments from Jamaica Hospital.
Anne Corrigan, director of planning for Jamaica Hospital, one of the MediSys hospitals, testified that she would go over state and city contract forms with Rosen or Bruce Flanz, MediSys’ chief operating officer at the time who was later promoted to CEO following the charges against Rosen, and that Seminerio’s name “never came up” during discussions.
Corrigan did say that Seminerio assisted MediSys in arranging a meeting with city officials for the purpose of Jamaica Hospital acquiring a property at 99-09 Van Wyck Expwy., across from the hospital to be used to alleviate overcrowding at Jamaica.
But Corrigan also said Seminerio said little at the meeting other than introducing the people involved in the discussion.
Ole Pedersen, MediSys’ chief spokesman, testified that Seminerio was not paid for community outreach and he never asked Seminerio to do anything for the hospital.
On cross-examination, Pedersen said Seminerio introduced the hospital to TriCare, a health care program that MediSys wanted to partner with as a way to get more military veterans as patients at Jamaica.
Under questioning by Rosen’s attorney, Scott Morvillo, Pedersen said that only top hospital officials, such as Rosen or Flanz, were the main contacts with public officials and that they would handle the “most important hospital issues”— not him in his role as chief spokesman.
Philip Vasquez, coordinator of a clinic run by Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, another MediSys hospital, testified that he did not hire Boyland as a consultant or ask for his help.
Vasquez said Boyland was a district leader at the time and he thought the assemblyman could use his presence in the community to bring in more patients.
But Vasquez testified that Boyland would not swipe in for work “enough times to make it a concern,” saying the assemblyman would often say he left his badge at home.
Vasquez said Boyland’s work duties made it difficult to determine whether he was actually working.
“The fact that he was working in the community, there was no way to account for his time or manage his time,” he said.
But Rosen attorney Scott Morvillo put a dent in Vasquez’s credibility by forcing him to admit that he did not tell the head of Brookdale about Boyland’s work ethic or did not take up the issue with Rosen.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.