The private equity owner of
But by March, when city officials and the
Then Freedman offered the hospital for rent at
Freedman, who has barely spoken to the media in over a year, told The Inquirer in an interview that he would have lost
What came after the Kenney blast in late March was terrifying to Freedman and his family, he said. “It was far more intense this time than it was last year, because people are scared. We’ve had literally hundreds of threats. It’s been remarkably intense.”
How the owner of Philly’s shuttered Hahnemann hospital became the internet’s coronavirus villainVandals defaced the house on the 2100 block of
A Twitter search for #joelfreedman turns up an image of a guillotine accompanied by the words, “Let him eat steel.”
For Freedman, it was hard to take.
“Until we get the property sold, we’re going to burn a million-plus a month,” he said. Those costs include the
I love Philly. *not condoning vandalism, but happy to see our notorious/infamous “energy” being fueled toward capitalist pigs in this case. #joelfreedman #JoelKills #FreeHahnemann #COVID19 https://t.co/UIhYqngfcj
Additional carrying costs include more than
The fundamental issue was that city was unwilling to pay rent, Managing Director
“Joel wanted to make sure he covered his costs,” Abernathy said. “I don’t think we were in a position to pay rent for the facility, and on top of that pay a few hundred thousand to prepare the facility to be occupied.”
“This was never going to be a hospital space,” he added. “It wasn’t equipped to be a hospital space. There’s no beds inside it. It wasn’t suited for a surge facility. Our initial exploration was quickly shifted from a surge facility to a quarantine or isolation space.”
By the time Freedman offered the facility rent-free, the city had moved on, Abernathy said.
It’s unclear how long it would have taken to reopen Hahnemann, which had been licensed for 496 beds. It had the advantage of having rooms with oxygen hook-ups, but virtually all of the equipment, including beds, had been sold to help pay off bankruptcy debts. Elevators weren’t working.
The details didn’t matter for those targeting Freedman on social media.
#JoelFreedman is trying to profit off of the #coronavirus by closing a hospital and extorting the @PhiladelphiaGov to open it back up. Shame on him. pic.twitter.com/xWbS09zjwG
“I think the abuse that he took was completely undeserved,” Abernathy said. “I know the mayor feels strongly that he was trying to make a buck. That is what it is. I think the mayor still feels that way. That doesn’t change the fact that the abuse the guy took was completely uncalled for.”
The Kenney administration, which was under pressure from
By the end of the month, Temple University’s
The next day, at the daily city news conference, Kenney criticized Freedman, who bought Hahnemann and St. Christopher’s in
“We have the owner of the Hahnemann hospital jacking up monthly prices,” Kenney said, calling it sad that “people will take advantage” and try “to make a buck out of this.”
Kenney kept it up on
Other governments are paying to temporarily use shuttered hospitals.
Freedman’s Hahnemann offer of
Why didn’t Freedman speak out sooner to defend himself?
“Because I have been nervous about getting into a tit-for-tat with people in high places,” he said. “It got so intense this time that I just felt something needed to be said.”
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