HOBOKEN -- Thursday morning, 33rd District Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, Jr. issued a strong statement regarding recent developments in the possibly ill fated sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center.
Ramos has been rumored to be gearing up to take on Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer for mayor in 2013, and is allied with Zimmer's opponents.
Ramos has been under some fire of his own for taking campaign donations from relatives of members of the company trying to buy the hospital from Hoboken. Once the matter came to light, Ramos gave the $5,200 to charity and said he was not aware of the connection.
For prior articles on this situation, click on the links below at hudsonreporter.com.
Ramos' statement on Thursday morning read:
“Last night, Mayor Zimmer placed the 9 members of the City Council in a very difficult position, one that they shouldn’t have been in to begin with. Zimmer’s effort to secure an additional $5 million from the City Council was a miserable attempt at using the nine City Council members as a scapegoat for her own administration’s failure.
I particularly commend Councilpersons Mason, Russo, Castellano, and Occhipinti for their courageous vote last night. By voting against the Administration’s efforts to extort more money from the Hoboken taxpayers to further fund the Mayor’s incompetent and flawed attempt sell HUMC, the Council minority made clear that it is unwilling to be a party to backroom dealings conducted without the benefit of meaningful public input.
Let’s not forget that Mayor Zimmer is a member of the Municipal Hospital Authority Board. She also appoints all the members to the board, as well as the Chief Operating Officer. Zimmer has also repeatedly stated that the Council has no role in the sale of hospital – that was until she needed $5 million of taxpayer money to bail her out of a deal that she and the buyers were completely inept at completing.
The current situation facing the hospital is solely the result of the incompetence and arrogance of Mayor Zimmer and her allies on the Municipal Hospital Authority’s Board, who now seek to scapegoat the Council in a pathetic attempt to hide their incompetence. It is the Mayor who has placed in doubt the future of the oldest hospital in the State and the jobs of 1,300 hardworking and dedicated employees, and who has jeopardized the City’s fiscal health. From the beginning, the Mayor and the Authority’s efforts to transfer the hospital to HoldCo have lacked transparency, with even the City Council being denied access to relevant details and documents despite repeated requests for this information.
The taxpayers and residents of Hoboken are owed a full investigation into the decision to sell the hospital, the RFP process, the decision to negotiate exclusively with only 1 of several bidders, and the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy filing.