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Grapevine

Grapevine: The unkindest cut of all

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New Jersey hospitals are miffed that Chris Christie went to New York for his weight-loss lap-band surgery, Grapevine has heard.

"The hospital industry is not happy with the governor that he went to New York for health care. We know he has concerns about privacy—so go to California, go to Florida. Why would you go to New York City for what is an out-patient procedure?" a health care source told Grapevine about the same-day surgery at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

New Jersey hospitals have been striving for years to emerge from Manhattan's shadow and convince patients that they don't need to cross the river for high-quality health care. The source said of Christie: "He's Mr. New Jersey, but when it comes to his own health care, he had to go somewhere else."

Did Christie leave the state in the hope of keeping his surgery secret?

"That tells me he doesn't trust the hospitals in New Jersey to do what they are supposed to do — which is protect his privacy."

Pernetti part of Big East legacy

It appears Rutgers University won't achieve a total separation from Tim Pernetti, at least until it resolves its ongoing legal tussle with the Big East.

The ousted athletic director's name is all over recent documents in Rutgers' case against its former conference, which centers on the university's bid to move to the Big Ten.

The newest filings from the case include a 6-page "certification" from Pernetti that details his tenure as athletic director, the departures of other schools from the conference and his dealings with the Big East's board of directors leading up to Rutgers' decision.

Rutgers sued the Rhode Island-based conference in November seeking a waiver of a $10 million exit fee and the required 27 months' notice to withdraw, while demanding its share of nearly $40 million in exit fees the conference is collecting from other departed schools. The suit also alleges the Big East has "selectively decided not to enforce its bylaws" for other institutions that have left in recent years.

The Big East hopes to have the case scrapped or at least moved to arbitration in Rhode Island, but Rutgers' attorneys are contesting whether the conference can make such a change. In its filings, Rutgers says President Robert Barchi, who has the sole authority to vote for the university, was not at a November board of directors meeting at which the conference amended its bylaws and enacted the "arbitration requirement."

Also at the Nov. 13 meeting, which Pernetti attended in Barchi's place, the board voted to have football schools pay a $10 million penalty if they leave the conference, the court filings said. Attorneys argue Rutgers never consented to the amendments because Barchi was not there to cast a vote; Rutgers withdrew from the conference a week later.

The chain of events is recounted in Pernetti's certification, dated April 29, among other recent documents. Pernetti had resigned about three weeks earlier in the wake of the scandal involving men's basketball coach Mike Rice, who was seen on video verbally and physically abusing his players last year.

In an April 29 response, attorneys for the Big East noted that "there is no genuine dispute that Rutgers is bound" by changes in the bylaws because a majority of the board voted to adopt them, and because the university had proper notice of the proposed amendments.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the- scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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