By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org – A Broward grand jury has indicted Broward Health’s top leadership for Sunshine Law violations.
“P.M. UPDATE: Broward Health’s top leadership, including its CEO and board chairman, are named in a four count indictment alleging violations of Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine law.”
“Florida Bulldog has obtained a copy of the four-page indictment Tuesday that accuses five defendants – Broward Health CEO Beverly Capasso, Commission Chairman Rocky Rodriguez, Commissioner Christopher Ure, former Commissioner Linda Robison and general counsel Lynn Barrett – of conspiring to violate Florida’s public meetings law, also known as the Government-in-the-Sunshine law.”
“Capasso, Rodriguez, Ure and Robison were also charged with two counts of violating the public meetings law. Barrett also was charged alone in one count that accuses her of solicitation to violate the Sunshine Law.”
By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org – A state grand jury could ‘indict them all’ for Sunshine Law violations at Broward Health
“A state grand jury investigation of alleged Sunshine Law violations at taxpayer-supported Broward Health appears to be wrapping up, and sources familiar with what’s happening say one or more indictments are likely.”
“… Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly is leading the grand jury’s investigation, which is unfolding as a parallel federal grand jury looks at suspicious purchasing practices at Broward Health. Florida Bulldog reported in February 2016 that the federal grand jury had subpoenaed Broward Health records about former procurement officer Brian Bravo and 16 companies, including MedAssets, which was a publicly traded, Georgia-based group purchasing organization.” ..
After Thanksgiving, it was a busy week for Broward Health with a flurry of committee and board meetings. I was able to attend most with my borrowed 4K video camera. These meetings can now be viewed and used for your edification, self improvement or as a sleep aide. Comments & Tips always welcome!
Given the backdrop of the Grand Jury looking into Broward Health (set to end on December 13th), and the acknowledgement of some that the ever present video camera has served to bring a bit of new accountability to these meeting – it is startling that there appears to be a growing rift between corporate and the medical staff. Anyway, I’ll leave that for another post where I will do some catch-up analysis of the “new” Broward Health.
In the meantime, here are the meetings and backup agenda excerpts.
“Lawyers for fired Broward Health chief executive Pauline Grant filed a pair of public records requests on the district in May that they believed might shed light on her sudden dismissal last December. Six months later, Broward Health hasn’t produced a single requested document in response.”
… “That legal tab is sure to climb even higher. Besides the two outside law firms Broward Health has hired in the public records case – the Miami firms of Foley & Lardner and Zumpano Castro – the district has retained a string of additional high-profile lawyers, including more from Foley, to represent individual defendants in related civil litigation brought by Grant. Here are some of those lawyers and their Broward Health clients:
Scott Richardson of West Palm Beach for Interim CEO (and former board member) Beverly Capasso. Richardson’s clients have included Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Roberto Martinez and Stephanie Casey of the Coral Gables law firm Colson Hicks Eidson for General Counsel Lynn Barrett. Martinez is a well-known Republican and former U.S. Attorney.
Bruce Lyons of Fort Lauderdale for board Chairman Rocky Rodriguez. Lyons is a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Andrew Levi of Miami’s Lehr, Levi & Mendez for board member Christopher Ure.
Eric Adams and Mark Rankin of the Tampa office of Shutts & Bowen for Commissioner Linda Robison. Like Adams and Rankin, Robison is a partner at Shutts & Bowen.”
By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org – Gov. Rick Scott, his lobbyist friend, a multi-million dollar nursing home deal and a change of heart at AHCA.
“… Rubin is Scott’s long-time friend and past business partner. In September, he was accused in a federal whistleblower suit brought by the former chairman of the North Broward Hospital District of being a behind-the-scenes power broker at Broward Health who boasted of controlling the governor’s appointments to its board of commissioners…”
By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org – Broward Health’s independent probe of its CEO was led by law firms with undisclosed ties to Gov. Rick Scott.
“When Broward Health General Counsel Lynn Barrett started an “independent” investigation that led to last December’s ouster of popular hospital district President/CEO Pauline Grant, the two law firms she retained to investigate and advise about Grant had deep, undisclosed ties to Gov. Rick Scott.” …
Just some quick snarky comments so I can post the meetings videos for those who are waiting. I’ll have more to say about these meetings as I digest some of the material. In the meantime . . . (Sorry, I didn’t have time to find cartoons to match the meetings – but I will soon. I promise.)
So, the posted Broward Health Board of Commission meeting schedule for October 25th was:
(I should note that, as usual, none of these meetings had agendas posted online and the online link to the Board Meeting agenda went nowhere. I am sure that contrary to the spirit of the Sunshine laws but technically compliant, these agendas were no doubt posted on some nondescript “public” bulletin board somewhere in the bowels of Broward Health’s Spectrum corporate offices.)
Human Resource (HR) Committee Meeting
Commission Chair Rocky Rodriguez, Commissioner Klein, assorted Broward Health staff, the press, some interested parties as visitors and I in my new role as videographer showed up on time for the noon meeting of the HR Committee. We waited patiently for “Guy Weston” (Commissioner Uri) to show up to make a quorum. “Guy Weston” had, after all, previously confirmed his attendance.
After waiting for over 30 minutes, staff unsuccessfully attempted to reach “Guy” on his mobile phone concerned that he might have been in an accident – after all, what would keep him from his promised attendance? I suggested sarcastically that he was probably busy with his girlfriend and that maybe his wife would know where he was.
At 1:00 pm “Guy Weston” was still a no-show. The HR Committee was posthumously cancelled having been a waste of many people’s time not to mention the high-priced Broward Health staff in attendance.
Compliance Committee Meeting
The all-important Broward Health Compliance meeting was scheduled to start at 1:00pm. Again, “Guy Weston” was needed for a quorum. Again, he had previously confirmed he would be present. Again, a no-show while everyone waited.
I shut down my video camera at 1:55 pm to go get some lunch and prepare for the main event of the day – the Board Meeting at 4:00.
When I returned at 3:40 pm, much to my surprise – “Guy Weston” had arrived apparently offering no explanation for his and the Compliance Committee meeting was in progress. I don’t know when this committee meeting started – but, I am sure that holding the meeting significantly after the published meeting time is not consistent with the notice requirement of the Sunshine laws. Nevertheless, I quickly set-up my 4K video camera and here is the end of the meeting:
Commission Board Meeting
In a two-hour meeting that should have only lasted one there were some notable actions in an otherwise unremarkable appearing meeting.
The meeting began with the election of officers for the year. This year, same as last year. Inexplicably, “Guy Weston”, certainly an embarrassment to any decent person let alone the Hospital District as a whole was nominated for vice-chair, and infamously elected. (See my article “Commissioner Uri Busted!”).
In what has become a common observation – what was not said was more interesting than what was.
First, with virtually no discussion on any important matters – the Board vote is unanimous, almost perfunctory. For the second meeting in a row, remarkably – there was no “nay” vote cast, on anything! Almost as if orchestrated. (Before this Board, there was almost always some commissioner casting a no vote on something.)
Second, note the number of “walk on” items. These are items that have not been advertised, are not on the agenda and are supposed to be an “emergency” sufficient to warrant the lack of public notice. In this meeting alone, there was a $90/m salary increase with the retroactive payment of that increase back to November 2016, the ranking of the CEO resume’s, the self-reporting of 2 potential STARK violations, the approval of the certified annual audit – all as walk on items and I may have missed a few. Notably, there was no back-up materials available at the meeting supporting these “walk-on” items. Absent some finding of urgency or emergency – all would appear to be violations of the sunshine laws, and these were “walked-on” with little or no formality. Just business as usual for this Broward Health Board.
For fun, see if you can catch all the “Walk-on” items and note the time stamp. Post a comment with your list of time stamps so I can pass it to State Attorney Tim Donnelly who is holding the Grand Jury on Broward Health every Wednesday. I’m sure he would appreciate the effort.
Following are the CEO resume’s that had been provided to the Board. The six finalists: Steve Altmiller, Joseph Gilene, Barbara Martin, Robert Minkin, Jessie Tucker and Mike Young.
Broward Health Medical Staff Combined Joint Conference Committee and Unified Medical Staff Committee
This committee meeting is for the Board of Commissioners to meet with and discuss operational and clinical issues with corporate senior management and the critical medical and senior management of each of the system’s 4 hospitals. Each hospital was well represented, but noticeably only Rocky Rodriguez showed up for the Board. The other participants were not amused at the Board Commissioner’s absence.
“A Broward grand jury began hearing testimony Wednesday about alleged criminal conduct at long-troubled Broward Health, the taxpayer-supported public medical system for the northern two-thirds of the county.”
“A panel of 18 grand jurors were on hand to examine potential criminal violations of Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law and state ethics laws by the seven-member commission appointed by Gov. Rick Scott that runs the health-care agency.”
“The kickoff witnesses were Broward Health’s former general counsel Sam Goren and ex-board chairman David Di Pietro. Goren, accompanied by his colleague attorney Jacob Horowitz, testified for an hour and 15 minutes. Di Pietro testified for nearly two and a half hours. Neither man would discuss his testimony nor disclose what matters he was asked about.”
“Appearing to testify in the afternoon were Pam Hatfield, senior executive secretary to Broward Health’s president/CEO, and former Broward Health Commissioner Maureen Canada.”
“A lawsuit by the former chairman of Broward Health claims a Fort Lauderdale lobbyist controls board appointments and used that power to steer a contract to a client.
The former chairman of Broward Health claims in a lawsuit that a lobbyist close to Gov. Rick Scott controls appointments to Broward Health’s board and used that power to help a client win a highly questionable contract.
The lawsuit, filed 17 months ago but sealed until Friday, says Fort Lauderdale lobbyist William Rubin told then-Broward Health board member David Di Pietro that he “was controlling” all appointments to the board,whose members are chosen by the governor to run the five-hospital, taxpayer-supported system.”