Kucinich Asks Ohio’s AG Mike DeWine To Open Lakewood Hospital Investigation
Dennis J. Kucinich, former US Representative, continued his efforts on behalf of Save Lakewood Hospital by asking Ohio's Attorney General, Mike DeWine to actively participate in a pending taxpayers’ case to protect "in excess of $80 million in cash assets, held by two charitable trusts in Lakewood." The state is already a party to the citizens' suit filed against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) and other defendants. Kucinich is asking the state to take an active role in blocking the hospital closing and CCF’s moving of medical of medical services to other community hospitals wholly owned by CCF.
Kucinich is encouraging the state to become active participants in the case through "instituting a motion for injunctive relief."
"The City of Lakewood owns Lakewood Hospital, a charitable trust. A second charitable trust, the Lakewood Hospital Foundation (LHF) was established solely to support the continuing and ongoing operations of Lakewood Hospital," Kucinich wrote in a letter to the Attorney General, in his request for immediate action to "preserve the status quo and to prevent harm to consumers until this case is resolved on its merit."
Earlier this week, Kucinich was joined by a large number of Lakewood residents who rallied outside the hospital as Kucinich related new developments in the court case, which establish that while CCF was providing assurances to the Lakewood community that it would sustain the hospital, it was embarking on a secret plan to "decant" or dismantle the hospital and distribute services and equipment throughout the Cleveland Clinic system in northeastern Ohio.
"The $80 million in cash assets does not include the value of the buildings or the equipment," Kucinich said. "It is the big prize in all the phony machinations to close Lakewood Hospital."
THE LETTER TO AG MIKE DEWINE
State of Ohio
State Office Building
Re: Request for Injunctive Relief to Protect City-Owned, Public Charitable Trusts
Dear Attorney General DeWine,
I am writing to seek your office’s urgent intervention in protecting in excess of $80 million in cash assets held by two charitable trusts in Lakewood, Ohio, which are at immediate risk of being substantially diminished, and even liquidated, for the sole benefit of a single party, which is using its extraordinary market power to force the closing of Lakewood Hospital, thereby gaining the assets of the charitable trusts.
Here are the facts: The City of Lakewood (City) owns Lakewood Hospital, a charitable trust. A second charitable trust, the Lakewood Hospital Foundation, was established solely to support the continuing and ongoing operations of Lakewood Hospital.
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) is under an agreement, in force from 1996 through 2026, to manage and operate Lakewood Hospital. In recent years, CCF provided published, written assurances and statements of specific plans to sustain Lakewood Hospital during the term of this agreement. The City took specific action in reliance upon CCF’s commitment to sustain Lakewood Hospital. However, perhaps simultaneously, CCF covertly proceeded to develop and execute a secret plan to “decant” Lakewood Hospital into other CCF properties.
A recent court filing (Friday, September 18, 2015) made public the here-to-fore secret decanting plan, which was concealed within CCF's Master Plan for Fairview Hospital. The new information arose as a result of discovery in a lawsuit filed by concerned Lakewood taxpayers to enforce the 1996 agreement, to secure contractual rights, and to prevent the further wasting and disposition of City-owned assets associated with
In January of 2015, the Cleveland Clinic presented to the City a letter of intent which improperly proposed to cause all of the Lakewood Hospital Foundation’s donated funds to be placed in a new charitable trust, with a different mission statement. This violates Ohio law. While the letter of intent has expired, CCF and some City officials are proceeding as if the letter of intent is in effect. If the CCF’s plan to close Lakewood Hospital is successful, it will have wrongfully succeeded in (1) diminishing an invaluable charitable asset for its own corporate benefit, and (2) injuring the express and intended beneficiaries, being the citizens of Lakewood and the Lakewood Hospital employees.
These recent revelations and documents demonstrate a compelling need for your office to immediately investigate the double-dealing and actively participate in the pending legal action, to which it is already a party. CCF's proposed decanting of Lakewood Hospital into its existing community hospital network also raises substantial antitrust concerns. A review of CCF's proposed closing is necessary to enforce existing City contract rights and ensure competitive health care costs in this community.
Based upon the recent court filing with attached documents, the original Complaint allegations and documents, the Amended Complaint allegations and documents, existing City Ordinances establishing Lakewood Hospital for the public benefit, existing contractual obligations being breached, the previously filed Motion for Injunction with attached affidavit, and the duty of the office of Attorney General of Ohio to protect City assets held in a public, charitable trust, I am requesting immediate intervention into the pending court procedure to preserve this invaluable health care facility for the residents and citizens of the City of Lakewood.
Time is of the essence. CCF is attempting to create “facts on the ground” by removing medical service lines to other CCF wholly-owned facilities and diverting out-patient and in-patient visits, causing economic harm which, absent your office’s intervention, could become irreversible. For your convenience, I attach a copy of a 2011 relevant court case in which the State of Ohio joined with the Federal Trade Commission to initiate action against ProMedica Health System, Inc.
In summary, I am requesting your office to institute a motion for injunctive relief to preserve the status quo and to prevent interim harm to consumers until this case is resolved on the merits. I am available to further discuss and review this matter with you or members of your staff. Please proceed with dispatch to protect Lakewood Hospital and Lakewood Hospital Foundation as going concerns and charitable entities.