Editor’s Note: As we go to press on Wednesday evening, we have learned that the Simone Group, the would-be buyers of the Woodmere Number Six School property, is negotiating with the Lawrence school board to withdraw from the deal to bring a Mt. Sinai medical center to the site. The board is meeting on Thursday evening to discuss the matter. At this point the districtwide referendum is still scheduled to take place on March 20.
“I think that Simone is having second thoughts,” said a school official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “It has become abundantly clear to them that they cannot win the referendum, so they want to cut their losses and move on,” the official said.
Another official involved in the process told the 5TJT that Simone wants out because they did not anticipate the type of intense opposition that has been displayed by the community and many of its leaders over the last few weeks. It is reported that Simone has already spent over $400,000 on the project, in addition to perhaps as much as $1.2 million that is on deposit with the district, some of which, according to the agreement, is not refundable. Some have said that Simone has suggested that they will commence a lawsuit against the district if they are not successful in recouping their deposit.
It was additionally learned that Long Island Jewish Hospital has recently begun working with opponents of the Simone/Mount Sinai sale, in the belief that if the deal goes through, LIJ will potentially lose a significant patient base. v