The New Jersey State Department of Health (NJDOH) fined Hudson Regional Hospital $63,000 after dozens of guns were found in an unlocked closet used by the Secaucus-based hospital’s former marketing director over the summer.
In a Nov. 30 letter to the institution, state health officials said Hudson Regional did not maintain plans and procedures to keep a safe environment in addition to failing to report the incident to the department on time, which according to NJDOH is “no later than three hours after the event.”
The cache of weapons was found while police were investigating a July 18 bomb threat that was later determined to be a hoax.
During a safety sweep, officers recovered 11 handguns and 27 rifles along with a .45 caliber semi-automatic rifle with a high-capacity magazine. Additionally, a 14-round high-capacity handgun magazine was also seized, according to Secaucus police.
Following the incident, Elmwood Park resident Reuven Alonalayoff, 46, was arrested and charged with possession of an assault firearm and two counts of possession of a high-capacity magazine, authorities said.
According to state health officials, Alonalayoff, Hudson Regional’s marketing director at the time, “personally brought the firearms onto the premises” months before they were discovered and hospital security did not check the packages because they were “familiar” with the employee.
Additionally, after a member of the hospital’s staff became aware of the presence of the firearms, she did not report it because she believed it was not “any of her business,” the state’s letter said.
Hudson Regional was given 30 days from the notice to either pay the fines or request a formal hearing to challenge the penalties.
In a statement to NJBIZ, hospital spokesperson Ron Simoncini said, “Hudson Regional Hospital designed a corrective action plan in response to a notice from the Department of Health concerning an incident where firearms were discovered in the hospital. The DOH accepted our plan, which was implemented and is in force, preventing any such incidents from occurring in the future. The DOH noticed us of its penalties for the infraction, which we are remitting in due course.”