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Queens Chronicle

Aquino cops plea in Kruger bribe

Doctor, former Parkway CEO paid corrupt senator $60K for influence

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Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:22 pm, Thu Jan 12, 2012.

The former CEO of the old Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribing former State Senator Carl Kruger.

Dr. Robert Aquino, 54, of Glen Head, LI, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery before U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or double the gross gain or loss from the offense.

“Robert Aquino was all too willing to make sure a bribe was paid to preserve his job as CEO of a hospital,” Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said on Tuesday in a statement issued by his office.

“Like others in this case, he chose to fight his battle with money under the table rather than play by the rules,” Bharara said. “And like others in this case, he now faces the prospect of jail.”

Bharara said his office remains committed to “breaking the chains of corruption that weigh down New York politics.”

He said Aquino caused Parkway Hospital, which closed in 2009, to make payments of $60,000 to Adex Management, Inc., a company in which Kruger (D-Brooklyn) had a financial interest.

Adex then paid half that money to Olympian Strategic Development Corp., a consulting firm controlled by Michael Turano, who has a close relationship with Kruger.

In Tuesday’s plea, Aquino said he understood that in exchange for making payments to Adex, Kruger would undertake official action in his capacity as a state senator to keep Parkway Hospital open.

Kruger pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges on Dec. 20, while Turano pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. Both will be sentenced by Rakoff on April 26.

Aquino, Kruger and Turano were charged on March 10, 2011, along with lobbyist Richard Lipsky; Adex owner Solomon Kalish; David Rosen, the former CEO of MediSys Health Network, which operates Jamaica and Flushing hospitals; real estate developer Aaron Malinsky; and state Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. (D-Brooklyn).

Rosen, 64, of Harrison, NY, was convicted on Sept. 12 in connection with a scheme to bribe Kruger, Boyland and former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio.

Rosen is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday. Seminerio died in prison last year less than one year into a six-year sentence.

Boyland, 41, was acquitted after a four-day trial on Nov. 10, but was arrested by the FBI on new bribery-related charges less than a week later.

The government entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Malinsky, 63, of Manhattan, on Nov. 22. The statement issued by Bharara’s office did not stipulate the conditions of Malinsky’s agreement.

Charges against Lipsky, 64, of Manhattan, and Kalish, 61, of Rockville Centre, LI, still are pending.

Parkway Hospital is the subject of a licensing dispute between the state and a group attempting to reopen it.

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