As of 8 p.m. on Friday, there was no bankruptcy agreement yet between a creditors committee and the hospital—which is needed in order to finalize the sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center to private bidder HUMC Holdco LLC—according to Virginia Treacy, the president of the nurses union.
A seven-member creditors committee needs to approve the settlement by a majority vote. The seven members represent the roughly 5,000 creditors that the hospital has on its $34 million debt.
Around 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, in front of a large crowd of hospital employees, Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced that the sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center is still likely happening, but hinges on the creditors’ committee's vote to approve a bankruptcy settlement that was supposed to happen on Friday afternoon.
Standing in the lobby of HUMC, Zimmer told the employees that an agreement was about 95 percent there. Negotiations in bankruptcy court in Newark lasted until late Thursday night without a final agreement.
According to sources who were present at the courthouse during the negotiations, there was a lot of yelling involved and the building's security had to come in and intervene.
Zimmer said the members were scheduled to vote on the agreement on Friday afternoon. One important “yes” vote that is needed to settle the deal seems to be the union that represents the hospital employees.
The dollar amount that was offered to the creditors—initially between $5 and $8 million—was supplemented with $5 million from Gov. Chris Christie after the Hoboken City Council didn’t approve a bond of the same amount.
Since then, the mayor said on Friday around 4 p.m. in the HUMC lobby, the dollar amount has increased and more money would be offered to the creditors. She would not say how much and where the money was coming from, but she said that neither the city nor the state are pitching in any more.
Zimmer said she still believes that HUMC Holdco LLC is the best bidder to buy the Hoboken hospital, regardless of other bidders that have expressed that they are still interested in buying the hospital and have made their bids public.
The Jersey City Medical Center on Friday also came out and said they were still interested in buying the hospital. JCMC also submitted a proposal to buy the hospital when the RFPs were issued. Holdco was chosen by the Hospital Authority to be the final bidder.
Without the sale, Zimmer has said, the hospital will have to close and roughly 1,200 people will lose their jobs.
The mayor has said tthe hospital officially runs out of money on Oct. 7 and will be forced to close if the sale fails.
Steve Brofsky, the chairman of the finance committee of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority, said that the “situation is fluid” and said he didn’t know how many members of the creditors committee are still on the fence.
Employees of the hospital are nervous about their jobs, said hospital spokeswoman Joan Quigley. Isaac Zaki, a physician at the hospital agreed. When asked if he’s afraid that the hospital will close, he answered “definitely,” adding that all his colleagues are worried too.