By Sarina Trangle
This Forest Hills hospital’s price was a walk in the park.
A Rego Park-based realty company seized the shuttered Parkway Hospital property with a $1 million bid during a foreclosure auction in Queens Civil Court last Friday.
The same firm, Auberge Grand Central Limited Liability Company, purchased the defunct hospital’s mortgages for $6.5 million in 2012 and then had a firm assess the 56,400-square-foot lot’s market rate at $6 million, court documents show.
After emerging from a brief bidding war, a representative from Auberge Grand Central said he was contractually prevented from discussing plans for the property.
The firm previously said it wanted to transform the six-story building into condominiums through a partnership with Jasper Venture Group LLC.
Auberge Grand Central’s lawyer opened the bidding at $1 million.
One prospective buyer pushed the price up to $5.5 million, but the referee declined his required 10 percent deposit because it did come with a certified check.
Again, Auberge Grand Central set the base offer at $1 million.
A second interested party upped the bid to $4.5 million. When asked for a deposit, he showed the referee a manila envelop filled with funds that also failed to comply with deposit protocol.
The third time Auberge Grand Central proposed a $1 million bid, nobody stepped forth with a counter offer.
Neither of the two unsuccessful bidders would discuss their interest in the 70-35 113th St. property.
The hospital has sat vacant, except for a few telecommunications companies renting space on its roof, since the state Commission on Healthcare Facilities shut it in 2008.
Dr. Robert Aquino, the hospital’s owner and chief executive officer, fought off creditors for years. He eventually pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges stemming from his attempts to bribe former state Sen. Carl Kruger in exchange for the Brooklyn lawmaker’s lobbying on behalf of Parkway.
Kruger was convicted in the bribery case and sentenced to seven years behind bars.
Parkway cycled through bankruptcy and foreclosure cases after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought fraud charges against executives at Medical Capital Holdings, which had loaned money to the hospital.
The federal court appointed Thomas Seaman to manage Medical Capital Holdings’ assets, including its stake in Parkway.
Seaman sold $10.5 million in mortgages on the hospital to Auberge Grand Central for $6.5 million in 2012, according to bankruptcy court records.
The documents show Parkway’s debt, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, water bills, sewer charges and liens, approaches $25 million.
Auberge’s previous attempts to sell the property at foreclosure auctions were thwarted by Parkway’s repeated filings for bankruptcy.
Then the previous winner of a January foreclosure auction failed to pay its $22 million bid.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.