Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams discussed the agreement announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, SUNY Chairman Carl McCall and Mayor Bill de Blasio to open a bidding process that will encourage full-service healthcare at Long Island College Hospital, which is located only a few blocks away from Adams’ office at Borough Hall.
Adams praised the deal that could keep the hospital running, characterizing the fight to keep LICH open as “an awesome battle,” but said that the conversation needs to move toward improving upon the delivery of healthcare service in the borough.
“As I always stated, we need to switch the conversation from the physical building to quality healthcare,” Adams said. “The country is now going through a new conversation about what is quality healthcare and New York must get on line with that conversation. It is unfortunately a look in that area that we are not ensuring that the narrative is about quality healthcare, and that’s my conversation. We can’t continue to have hospitals that hemhorrage millions of dollars weekly or monthly, and we are attached to just the physical structure.”
Adams added that he made a concerted effort to keep Brooklynites involved in the LICH conversation by hosting an open town hall-style discussion about the hospital on local access cable, saying, “An educated consumer needs to be our best customer.”
Shifting gears, Adams addressed some of the controversies that have followed him from his time as a state Senator to his current role as borough president, including his alleged involvement in helping the Aqueduct Entertainment Group secure a bid to operate a racino in Queens. Adams contended that he was targeted in a state inspector general’s report on the bidding process in part because of his role as chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee and the tense partisan politics of the moment.
“I was the chair of racing, I did my job. I think we were in the political climate. That was in the time that the Democrats were in control of the Senate, it was a very poltical time in Albany and partisan politics used that time to attempt to tarnish, not only Eric Adams, but tarnish the Democratic Party,” Adams said. “People knew I was vocal as a police officer, I was vocal as a state Senator, and in the process I think things like this happen.”
“The integrity that I’ve showed when I wore a blue uniform as a police officer, is the integrity I’m going to continue to show wearing a blue suit as a BP and whatever public life that I am in,” continued Adams. “My record of integrity has gone unquestioned throughout the years and everyone [who] knows me knows I am going to continue to do that.”
Adams was also asked about reportedly being one of the public officials who was recorded by former state Senator Shirley Huntley while she was an informant for federal investigators. Adams remained steadfast in his stance that he has nothing to hide regarding whatever was recorded by Huntley, and said that it would not affect his ability to do his job as borough president.
“I made it clear that there was nothing on those tapes that will implicate me in any wrongdoing. I did not spend a lifetime enforcing the law to go to Albany to break the law,” Adams said.