A key argument for breaking the Cleveland Clinic’s lease on Lakewood Hospital and closing the facility has collapsed – courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic.

The Lakewood Observer recently broke the story of a Cleveland Clinic document acknowledging, unambiguously, a $278 million liability under a lease which Lakewood council voted to discard as part of the deal that closed the hospital.

The Clinic document completely disproves arguments that Lakewood Hospital could not have remained open through the lease’s 10 remaining years. As the Observer story notes, Lakewood city law director Kevin Butler’s contrary opinion was “the most important reason cited by City Council when they authorized Butler to negotiate” an agreement terminating the lease and closing the hospital.

Cleveland Clinic acknowledges owing $278 million to Lakewood
Cleveland Clinic document obtained in legal discovery process

The same story finds that the Clinic paid only $9.6 million to acquire hospital assets, plus associated benefits including the write-off of lease obligations. The Observer cites City Hall’s own filing with the state auditor. The discovery is particularly inconvenient for supporters of the hospital deal, who have claimed that it brings Lakewood more than $100 million in new investment.

Next month, Lakewood voters can reject the deal that liquidated the hospital by voting against Issue 64.