Aquino gets four months in jail

Aquino gets four months in jail
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Steve Mosco

Dr. Robert Aquino, former chief executive officer of Parkway Hospital, was sentenced to four months in prison Tuesday for bribing former state Sen. Carl Kruger in an effort to keep the Forest Hills institution open.

Aquino pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in January, admitting he bribed the former senator in exchange for Kruger’s lobbying on the Forest Hills hospital’s behalf in Albany. Kruger pleaded guilty to taking bribes in December and was sentenced in April to seven years in prison.

“Instead of pursuing legitimate political process to try to keep Parkway Hospital open, CEO Robert Aquino resorted to bribery,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “Aquino’s ill-conceived plan to corruptly influence the political process has him bound for prison. As today’s sentence demonstrates, like others before it, those who engage in public corruption will not go unpunished.”

In addition to prison, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff sentenced Aquino to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $100 special assessment fee.

When Parkway was slated for closure in 2008, Aquino had the hospital pay $60,000 to Adex Management Inc., a marketing firm in which Kruger had an interest. According to Bharara, Aquino understood that in exchange for making payments to Adex, Kruger would use his standing as senator to help keep Parkway open.

Aquino was initially charged in March 2011 along with seven others, including Kruger; Michael Turano, a consultant with Olympian Strategic Development Corp,; Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist; Solomon Kalish, the owner of Adex; real estate developer Aaron Malinsky; state Assemblyman William Boyland Jr.; and David Rosen, former chief executive officer of Jamaica Hospital and MediSys Health Network.

Adex Management also funneled bribes to Kruger from Rosen, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

In September, Rosen was convicted of a scheme to bribe Kruger, Boyland and late state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio. He was sentenced on Monday to three years in prison by a Manhattan federal court judge.

After a three-week bench trial in September, Rosen was found guilty of ordering MediSys, which owns Jamaica, Flushing and Brookdale hospitals, to pay more than $400,000 to Seminerio between 1999 and 2008. He was also found to have participated in bribing Kruger with close to $1 million with Aquino the other defendants. Rosen also bribed Boyland with a no-show consulted job that paid him $35,000, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s office.

In exchange for the funds, Seminerio, Boyland and Kruger advocated on Rosen’s behalf with state agencies, co-sponsored legislation to benefit MediSys and lobbied on the health system’s behalf in its effort to acquire St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica, which at the time were owned by Caritas.

Seminerio pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to six years in a North Carolina prison in February 2010. He died in January 2011 while appealing the decision.

Turano pleaded guilty in December and was sentenced in April to two years in prison. Kalish pleaded guilty in January and wascheduled to be sentenced on May 22. Lipsky was slated to be sentenced on Sept. 12 and Boyland was acquitted by a jury in November. Malinsky entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, agreeing to fully cooperate with the investigation.