NEW YORK – Greek-American businessman George Tsunis began his tenure as the new Chairman of the Board for Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) on Thursday, Feb. 1. He said, as reported in Newsday, that he “signed his oath of office card and was ready to chair his first meeting of the 15-member board of directors of the Nassau University Medical Center.”
The 50 year-old Long Islander said, “I believe in transparency and openness,” as Newsday reported, adding his plan that, “we institute the best practices in corporate governance and that we provide the best possible health care.”
Mr. Tsunis- Chairman and CEO of Chartwell Hotels, was appointed by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat. As Newsday reported, Tsunis’ appointment as the new chairman of the board for the Nassau Health Care Corp., the public benefit corporation that runs the hospital in East Meadow and associated facilities, an unpaid position, was “expected.”
“This is a very important institution. It provides a vital service to the underserved. There is no room for politics or games… The stakes are too high and we will all be judged as a society on how we treat our citizens in the most challenged economic neighborhoods,” said Tsunis, a Locust Valley resident, as Newsday reported.
He added, as Newsday reported, that NUMC is “a safety net hospital and for many people this is sometimes the only place where they can receive medical care.”
Last year, Ms. Curran “criticized the health care corporation for its hiring practices and lack of transparency” during her campaign for county executive, as Newsday reported.
Michael Mirotznik, the previous NUMC chairman, resigned last week, and gave no public reason for his resignation.
“Tsunis was a member of Curran’s transition team and is a major Democratic fundraiser, though he did not contribute directly to her campaign. State campaign disclosure records show he gave $35,000 to the Nassau Democratic Party last year,” as Newsday reported.
Among the Democrats Tsunis has contributed to are New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Tsunis had also been a contributor to former President Barack Obama. On September 10, 2013, he was nominated by President Obama to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Norway. However, Tsunis withdrew as a candidate in December 2014. The nomination had been part of a number of appointments during a time when 28 countries had no U.S. Ambassador. It was also a controversial nomination since Tsunis had never been to the Scandinavian country and admitted that he was unfamiliar with political issues affecting Norway.
According to his biography, Tsunis, the son of James (Demetris) and Eleni Tsunis, earned a BA from New York University in 1989 and a JD from St. John’s University School of Law in 1992. A practicing attorney, he was a partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler LLP. Tsunis married Olga J. Antzoulis in November 2004. They live on Long Island with their three children, James, Eleni, and Yanna. Tsunis also has two sisters, Anastasia and Vicki, who both became public school teachers.
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