Cottage Hospital owners report death threat; police respond to bomb threat on hospital's closing day

Talbot Fisher
For The Register-Mail
Lights remain on hours at Galesburg Cottage Hospital hours after administration announced it was suspending operations on Jan. 8, 2022.

GALESBURG — Threats and vandalism surround the final day of operation of Galesburg Cottage Hospital, according to a Galesburg police report.

Officers responded to the building, 695 N. Kellogg St., at 3:17 p.m. on Jan. 8, as an employee said the hospital had received a bomb threat.

The employee told police that they learned of the threat when staff from a Kewanee hospital had called Cottage and said they knew that Cottage had had a bomb threat and was ready to take the last patient from Cottage.

Previously:Beleaguered Galesburg Cottage Hospital closes; letter Friday informed staff they're fired

She then notified management, and she was told that hospital owner and CEO Sanjay Sharma was aware of the threat and was calling police. The officer advised the employee that the department had not been made aware of any threat.

Galesburg Cottage Hospital is closed, with only a few lights on Jan. 8. The locked doors have sheets of paper with Cottage letterhead that say "Galesburg Cottage Hospital is temporarily closed."

Another employee advised that the Sharmas, who are not in Illinois, had received a threat against their life from an ex-employee. In addition, multiple incidents of vandalism were reported in the hospital, including employees moving Sharma’s nameplate from his office door to the door of the morgue, and “f*** the Sharmas” spray painted on the fourth floor. “Liars Sharmas” was also written on a window.

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Officers performed a sweep of the building, and found no evidence of a bomb.

Officers then spoke to Priyamva Sharma, who also owns the hospital, by phone and she explained she had received a threat on the night of Jan. 7 by telephone from a former employee, who allegedly told her “if you guys ever come here you will be taken out.” Sharma was further told by other employees that the person making the threat had been holding “Sharma hate parties.”

Officers located and spoke to the former employee who allegedly made the threat, who admitted calling Sharma while she was out with friends at a local bar, but denied making a threat and said that she had yelled “I love you” into the phone while someone else yelled “no you don’t, she a b****” in the background and told officers anything Sharma said was “a lie.”

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In speaking with officers, several others who had been with the subject at the bar corroborated her statement.

No charges had been pressed at the time of the report, and the alleged threat and vandalism remains under investigation.

The Sharmas reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health that the hospital closed temporarily at 9 p.m. Jan. 8.