Fact Check

Chelsea Clinton's Apartment Houses a Secret Hospital

After Hillary Clinton went to visit her daughter after appearing to fall during an 11 September 2016 event, rumors swirled that Chelsea Clinton's home is actually a medical facility.

Published Sept. 16, 2016

 (Steve Jurvet/Flickr)
Image Via Steve Jurvet/Flickr
Chelsea Clinton's home is actually a medical care facility for Hillary Clinton in order to more effectively hide and treat her health problems.

On 11 September 2016, video of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton swaying and appearing to faint at an event added fuel to already rampant rumors that she was battling everything from a brain tumor to vascular dementia.  The rumors were not tamped down by the Clinton campaign's disclosure that she was, in fact, suffering from pneumonia, nor were they affected by her appearance at her daughter's apartment later that day.

In fact, her trip to her daughter's New York City apartment gave rise to a new rumor: That Chelsea Clinton's purported apartment is actually a front for a medical facility, placed in New York specially so that her mother could receive clandestine medical care whenever she needed it. This particular theory was bolstered by the fact that the apartment building, The Whitman, really did have an office for a medical care facility at some point:

metrocare listing new york city

But, as the New York Department of Health listing clearly says, the facility closed well before its relaunch as a luxe apartment complex in 2013:

The units start at $10 million and go up to $22.5 millionfor the penthouse. Lorber tried to put a bargain-minded spin on things by pointing out that that's only $2,000/square foot, and "today you start saying to yourself, why is it only $2,000/foot?" given other prices in the area. (The assembled brokers chuckled uncomfortably.) That penthouse comes with 27,000 square feet of air rights, which a buyer could choose to use or — and we're not sure whether to be worried or intrigued by this — to resell.

The Whitman was built in 1924, originally intended as the headquarters for a textile company called "Clarence B. Whitman & Sons."  It went through many iterations before it became the "luxury fortress" that Chelsea Clinton bought just after its conversion into apartments. A profile of the building mentions that the developer who converted them bought them in 2011:

“One of the things that attracted me to this building is that there are so few parks, especially South-facing buildings parks,” said developer David Mitchell of Mitchell Holdings LLC, whom The Observer met when we toured the still under-construction building (it is expected to be completed by early Spring).

Mitchell Holdings bought the 1924 building — a former showroom — from the plumber’s union for a mere $13 million in 2011. Mr. Mitchell gestured out the big windows to the park beyond, noting that the living room in which we stood might not look particularly large, but it was actually 1,500 square feet.

The Plumbers Local 1 had owned the building since the 1970s, and much of it was empty by the time Mitchell's company bought it out:

Christen Portelli, managing principal of Highcap Group LLC has sold 21 East 26th St. (aka 16 East 27th St.) located between Fifth and Madison Aves. which sold for $13.5 million.

The Plumbers Local 1 had owned the property since the 1970s and it was once used as a headquarters. The 28,600 s/f elevator block-through building was delivered mostly vacant and the new ownership plans to convert the property into condominiums. The conversion project is scheduled to appear on Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing."

Part of the building was evidently used by Metrocare Home Services (and other businesses, as is common in New York City) for some time, as can be seen by the following document dated August 1991:

metrocare file

As of 2012, Metrocare is a division of Tri-Borough Home Care, which offers support services for the elderly and those with Alzheimer's, diabetes, HIV and AIDS, and other health issues that limit mobility inside and outside the home; while it does offer on-site care, the company is headquartered elsewhere.   After the merger, the company pruned its staff and closed some of its offices, presumably including the office in the building now occupied by Chelsea Clinton, although we were unable to locate any official records of when that particular office actually closed.

However, Tri-Borough Home Care and Metrocare don't have a main facility that services patients; the services they offer are strictly at the patients' homes (which is why they have home care right in the name). From Tri-Borough Home Care's web site:

Home health care is becoming a much more common way to receive medical care, whether it’s for at-home nursing care after a hospital stay or ongoing assistance with daily living. The reasons vary. Patients are being discharged sooner from hospitals and are receiving care in their own homes. Thanks to technological advances, many procedures, including dialysis, chemotherapy and wound care, which previously could be performed only in a medical facility, can now be safely and efficiently carried out in a home setting. As time goes on, it is expected that more and more Americans will be receiving much of their medical care where they prefer — in the comfort of their own homes.

When the Whitman's fourth floor apartment was offered for sale in early 2013, over five months before Chelsea Clinton and her husband purchased it, its listing included no photographs or mention of a medical facility among its amenities.

Even if Hillary Clinton were receiving clandestine medical care at a secret facility, there would be no reason for that facility to be located at Metrocare Home Services' former site, as all of the medical care offered by them was, by nature, outside their office.

Brooke Binkowski is a former editor for Snopes.