Aquino can never be hospital admin again: Court

By Eric Jankiewicz

The former chief executive officer of the shuttered Parkway Hospital in Queens, Dr. Robert Aquino, have served his time for bribing former state Senator Carl Kruger. But his punishment isn’t over.

The state Appellate Division recently approved the decision meted out by the state board that prevents Aquino from ever holding an administrator or manager position in a medical facility. Aquino was sentenced to prison for four months in 2012 after being found guilty of bribing Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat. But the punishment does not prevent Aquino from opening his own private practice.

Parkway Hospital closed in 2008 despite Aquino’s efforts to keep the 70,000-square-foot hospital open by bribing Kruger in an attempt to gain his help. Aquino paid Kruger a $60,000 bribe in 2008 in a futile effort to save Parkway.

The hospital has sat vacant since the state Commission on Healthcare Facilities shut it in 2008.

Aquino, the hospital’s owner and chief executive officer, fought off creditors for years. He eventually pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges.

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 hospital was bought in 2014 by the firm Auberge Grand Central Limited Liability Company. They 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.

Aquino was sentenced in 2012, along with Kruger, who has been serving a seven-year prison sentence since then for soliciting bribes from Aquino and others.

“Instead of pursuing legitimate political process to try to keep Parkway Hospital open, CEO Robert Aquino resorted to bribery.,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, after his sentencing. “Mr. 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.”

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejankiewic[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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