Broward grand jury hears witnesses in criminal probe of Broward Health

By Dan Christensen and Buddy Nevins – A Broward grand jury is hearing witnesses in a criminal probe of long troubled Broward Health.

Source: Broward grand jury hears witnesses in criminal probe of Broward Health

“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.”

See the Full Story:  Broward grand jury hears witnesses in criminal probe of Broward Health

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Lawsuit claims lobbyist controls Broward Health board appointments

Sun-Sentinel

“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.”

More …

Source: Lawsuit claims lobbyist controls Broward Health board appointments

DiPietro’s Complaint:

DiPietro Lawsuit

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September 2017 Broward Health Board Meetings

September 25th, 2017 – Broward Health Board of Commissioner’s Meetings

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine what a video is worth.  As an experiment, I attended all the meetings yesterday and recorded them on video.  After modifying the 4K videos to YouTube formats, I posted the videos publicly.  Find them below.

As usual, what was not said at these meetings speaks volumes.  In a future post, I share some of my thoughts on these meetings – but in the meantime, I thought it important to post the videos and meeting packet immediately. 

3:00 pm Meeting: Broward Health CEO Search Committee Meeting

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/Jpe3DYZt2p0

3:30 pm Meeting: Broward Health Community Care Network Presentation

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/yeNaOyIiquA

4:00 pm Meeting: Broward Health Board of Commissioner’s Meeting

September 25th 2017, Broward Health Meeting Agenda Packet Excerpts (Scanned)

9/25/17 Broward Health Board of Commission Meeting Agenda Packet

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/6nBRnRdXnqw

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Corruption allegations involving Broward Health unsealed in whistleblower suit

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org – Corruption allegations involving Broward Health and Gov. Rick Scott are unsealed in federal whistleblower suit

“New and politically explosive corruption allegations surrounding Broward Health’s no-bid, 25-year contract with 21st Century Oncology – a company financially tied to Gov. Rick Scott – are spilling out publicly with the unsealing of a federal lawsuit in Fort Lauderdale.”

.. “Specifically, “Rubin promised Nask that [the governor’s] appointments to the Broward Health Board would protect Nask’s continuing employment salary and pension as CEO,” the suit says. “Rubin also communicated the message to Nask that if he did not support the contract with 21st Century, then the appointments to the board would not be his allies and his employment would be terminated.”

Source: Corruption allegations involving Broward Health unsealed in whistleblower suit

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State Attorney Gets Complaint: Broward Health Commissioner Threatened Woman!

State Attorney Gets Complaint: Broward Health Commissioner Threatened Woman!

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Broward Health is a mess.

Another complaint has been filed with the State Attorneys Office involving the public health care system. It is alleged that Christopher Ure used his position as a Broward Health Commissioner to threaten a woman he met using a phony name online.

Read the full post here.

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Commisioner Ure – Bully Busted!

I had hoped that this Broward Health post would never be written, let alone published.  The riddle and its 6 clues were directed at and for Board Commissioner Chris Ure in the hopes that he would man-up and resign before this post became necessary.

Christopher Ure

Christopher Ure

He did not, despite every opportunity to do so.  Hypocrites rarely show courage when caught – they just continue to lie, mostly to themselves.

There are some sordid details in this story and I want to emphasize that I am not the morality police, nor do I care what two consenting adults do privately.  In addition, as an alumnus of the original Woodstock in the summer of ’69, I understand that there are lots of ways that people define their relationships – and I’m good with that.  It’s not my business and I do not judge.

The exception is when a person uses his position –  well, I’ll let you be the judge.

Please note that this post will not have my usual selection of cartoons or sarcastic images because there is nothing funny about this story.  It is sad, disappointing and embarrassing at almost every level.  The right response to this story is the urge to shower.

The allegation

Commissioner Chris Ure apparently used his position as a Broward Health Commissioner to threaten his mistress (I’ll call her Jane Doe) to keep their affair secret.  Commissioner Ure did this by sharing his personal secret with Robert Taylor, an investigator with the law firm of Jay Cohen.  Robert Taylor contacted Jane Doe – leaving a passive aggressive threatening message on her answering machine.  At the time, Jay Cohen’s law firm had at least one active personal injury case against Broward Health.

The Law

 Florida statute 112.313 provides standards of conduct for public officers, employees of agencies, and local government attorneys.

(1) DEFINITION.—As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, the term “public officer” includes any person elected or appointed to hold office in any agency, including any person serving on an advisory body.

(2) SOLICITATION OR ACCEPTANCE OF GIFTS.—No public officer, employee of an agency, local government attorney, or candidate for nomination or election shall solicit or accept anything of value to the recipient, including a gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor, or service, based upon any understanding that the vote, official action, or judgment of the public officer, employee, local government attorney, or candidate would be influenced thereby.

(4) UNAUTHORIZED COMPENSATION.—No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney or his or her spouse or minor child shall, at any time, accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value when such public officer, employee, or local government attorney knows, or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should know, that it was given to influence a vote or other action in which the officer, employee, or local government attorney was expected to participate in his or her official capacity.

(6) MISUSE OF PUBLIC POSITION.—No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, herself, or others. This section shall not be construed to conflict with s. 104.31.

Christopher Ure fits the definition of “appointed to hold office in any agency”. 

He also apparently received a favor – private investigative services from an adversarial legal firm.  There are many unanswered questions about Mr. Ure’s apparent relationship with Attorney Jay Cohen, P.A which go beyond just the services they apparently provided to Commissioner Ure.  Chief among these are if he participated in any “shade” meetings or any other conversations about ongoing litigation or settlement conversations between Broward Health and any of Mr. Cohen’s clients.

Attorneys in Florida Negotiate Fourteen Million Dollar Settlement Against North Broward Hospital District

“It was outrageous to find out that you went to a facility to undergo a procedure and that all safeguards and safety precautions that were supposed to be in place were not and to find out one of the most basic principles of safety was violated,” Jay Cohen said.

Apart for the obvious leverage Mr. Cohen’s firm held over Commissioner Ure by knowing Commissioner Ure dirty little secret, the nature of his relationship with a prominent firm specializing in malpractice and personal injury litigation is troubling and probably offensive to numerous Florida statutes and bar rules.

Then there is the actual message left by Mr. Cohen’s investigator on Jane Doe’s answering machine referencing Commissioner Ure as “powerful”, “friend”, and “they look out for their friends”. 

I wonder how and when the conversation even began between Commissioner Ure and Mr. Cohen and/or Mr. Taylor.

So many questions.  As a simple blogger, I’ll leave the question to others more adept at investigations –  but something stinks.  

The sordid story

Christopher Ure and Jane Doe met online late in 2015.  He used “Guy Weston” and “WestonGuy954@gmail.com” as his online profile (clever, he lives in Weston and he’s a “guy”).  He also used an anonymous google voice number 770-580-4009 to keep his communications secret.

On October 30th, 2015 – Christopher Ure was appointed to the Broward Health Board.

Soon after meeting online, using his anonymous phone number Commissioner Ure texts his picture to Jane Doe:

From: (770) 580-4009 Date: Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 10:09 PM
Subject: SMS from (770) 580-4009

I think I figured this out how to send a photo. Please confirm you have received them. There are two pics. One from me in Paris last New Years Eve and the other my daughters Spring play.

  Soon after, Commissioner Ure and Jane Doe allegedly began an intimate relationship.  According to Jane Doe “Chris used to charge our lunch dates to a business card account. And we met at a hotel about 3 separate times over the course of a year and half, and he said he had to pay it with a corporate account so he didn’t raise any suspicion at home.

Also, according to Jane Doe, one of Commissioner Ure’s favorite phrases is “I’m easy peasy, lemon squeezy”

Ironically, in 2016, Commissioner Ure became an elder in his church, First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale establishing his evangelism hypocrisy.

In late 2016, Jane Doe ended the intimate relationship apparently in a dispute over honesty.  According to Jane Doe, feeling used and lied to – she reached out and intending to reach Commissioner Ure’s current wife, accidentaly contacted Commissioner Ure’s (who’s phone number was 1 digit different) ex-wife who apparently was not surprised.  

Because Commissioner Ure was an elder in his church, Jane Doe called the church’s minister to warn him about Commissioner Ure hypocrisy.  Purportedly, her warning was dismissed as nothing more than the siren of a jilted lover by the church’s misogynistic leadership.  Sad.  They should be ashamed.

Then in March 2017, private investigator Robert Taylor working for Attorney Jay Cohen, P.A leaves the message below on Jane Doe’s answering machine.

Robert Taylor

Message text:

“My name is Robert Taylor.

 I’m speaking on behalf of our friend.

I was going to come by and try and meet with you in the morning.  But seems like things are getting a little out of hand. 

But anyway, give me a call back 954-609-0576 we can meet in the morning if you want and try to resolve all this and see what’s going on and see what

I’m just trying to get to the bottom of what this is — as you know, um our friend has a very important job and I uh look out after these guys so you can look it up, I’m a private investigator, I’m licensed in the state Robert Taylor and if you want to meet with me fine, and we can talk, but the crazier this gets the more difficult its going to be to talk about this.

Anyway, feel free to give me a call tonight, thanks.”

Jane Doe did not know Robert Taylor, did not know how he got her phone number, did not know how he knew where she lived, did not know what “very powerful job” and “I look out for these guys” meant.  She was justifiably frightened at the passive and very aggressive message.  Imagine being a single woman getting this as a message on your answering machine.

It is important to note, that proximate to the time the message was left – Mr. Cohen, Mr. Taylor’’s employer was in active litigation against Broward Health.

Broward County Clerk of Courts - Home

In mid-June, Jane Doe contacted my BrwdHealth Blog and I listen to her story.  Beginning in July, I posted my riddle together with its clues as a direct message to Commissioner Ure that he needs to resign and keep his private business private.  In three posts, and two comments – I continue to send an increasingly loud message to Commissioner Ure – resign and save both himself and the district the embarrassment of his cowardly and hypocritical personal and apparently public misconduct.

The Riddle Answers

“The only thing worse than being a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite.”  – Tennessee Williams

For those that have diligently been working through the clues provided by my previous posts.  Thank for playing! 😊

The Riddle:     Which Broward Health Commissioner might find it’s a good time to quietly resign? 

Answer:          Commissioner Christopher Ure

Clue #1:          July 5, 2017
                        I’m Back
                        “easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy”

                        Answer: One of Commissioner’s Ure’s favorite expressions.

Clue #2:         July 5, 2017
                        I’m Back
                        “Sleazy hypocrites get cached”

                        Answer: Dating Profiles are almost never erased on the internet – they get cached (and historically stored for faster searces).  See Google Cached Pages of Any Website – CachedView

Clue #3:         July 5, 2017
                        I’m Back
                        “In Florida, it’s too hot for a cover-up”

                        Answer: Regrettably, the crime isn’t the hypocritical personal conduct but the cover-up.

Clue #4:         July 12, 2017
                        I’m Back – Comments
                        “Like the western dude in the movies, the commissioner should ride into the sunset.”

                        Answer:   “Guy Weston” or “Weston Guy”.  Commissioner Ure’s online profile name.

Clue #5:           July 31, 2017
                        Lipstick On A Pig
                        “the link between Barbara Stanwyck, Ursula Thiess, and Jay Cohen you’ll have the ethical key to this Commissioner’s problem at Broward Health”

                        Answer:  Robert Taylor, Attorney Jay Cohen’s investigator

Clue #6:           August 14, 2017
                        Barrett Continues To Purge
                        “What does 112.313(1),(2),(4),(6) and Audio Player have in common”

                        Answer:  Some of the potential statutes concerning the audio recording attempted cover-up of Commissioner Ure’s conduct.

To Close

It is disgusting that Commissioner Ure would use his appointed “powerful” position to bully someone.  His private life is just that, private – that is, until he missuses his public position for a private purpose. In this case, to bully a person with seemly less power than he. I am outraged that the instrumentality of his bullying is the public office to which he is appointed. An office that represents me and to which I pay thousands of dollars of taxes a year.

It should be enough that he is totally incompetent in his appointed position and a shameful Board member.

This morning, I provided this information to the public corruptions unit of the Broward State Attorney’s Office in the hope that it can address the very serious issues and questions raised.

While I candidly do not expect any action from the State Attorney, I certainly hope that they at least make any ethical referrals as appropriate and carefully look into Commissioner Ure’s public conduct.

My role in this sordid matter is over.  I hope others who are more equipped to investigate will do their jobs diligently.

Excuse me now, I’m going to take a shower.

Remember: You can send me anonymous tips and information through my About/Contact page.

Posted in Broward Health Board | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Barrett Continues to Purge Top Broward Health Employees

The week began with a public records lawsuit against Broward Health, then came news that the vacationing Senior Vice president Broward Health personal director Dionne Wong had resigned, then CEO of Broward Health’s flagship hospital – Broward Medical, Mark Sprada was forced out.  Although I do not, as yet have copies of their severance agreements – I suspect that they were consistent with the gag order agreement of ousted Doris Peek from a couple of weeks ago.  I have made a public records request for these severance agreements and will post them when received.

Here’s some of the rest of this developing story.

For some time, Dionne Wong has been remarkably excluded from involvement with the excessively long corporate CEO search now filled on an interim basis by Ms. Beverly Capasso.  You will recall that Ms. Capasso was a Broward Health Board Member when she was appointed interim CEO – an action with an active ethics and sunshine investigation by the Broward State Attorney.

But I digress, the permanent CEO search has been alternatively started, stopped, started, pending primarily at the initiative of Board member Chris Ure.  Meanwhile, a costly “outside independent consultant” has been conducting the non-existent search and vetting candidates for a job that most think has already been filled by a Governor Scott’s appointment Capasso through what many consider an illegal Board action

Importantly, it was Dionne Wong who purportedly had the responsibility for an academic verification on Capasso’s bogus mail-order degree.  This type of verification is standard due diligence for all Broward Health’s employees.  Clearly, Ms. Wong wasn’t sitting with the new cool kids of Barrett, Capasso, Ure, Rodreguez, et al..

An important corollary to these high-level personnel purges is the management evaluation contract, the brain child of Board Member Chris Ure which was used to stall the search for a permanent CEO.  His argument essentially was the assertion that if they system [he] didn’t know what was needed to be done, how could they [he] select a CEO.  The argument is silly on its face and shouts the Boards collective incompetence or collusion to disrupt the system for as yet unknown purposes.  Fortunately, when URE’s management consultant wanted millions of dollars to manage Broward Health, Chairman Rocky Rodreguez stopped the nonsense and aggressively objected.  Did the management consultant think they were Porritt and Zimmerman?  

Dionne Wong also played an important role in the ouster of previous CEO Frank Nask and the short lived El Sanadi’ tenure as CEO cut short by his suicide.  Dionne Wong, together with Donna Lewis, Doris Peek (the triple “D’s”) with a minor assist by Mark Sprada served as El Sanadi’s “kitchen” cabinet and responsible for much of the ill-advised administrative decisions that have accelerated the district’s downward management spiral.

Mark Sprada, as CEO of Broward Health’s flagship hospital Broward Medical Center had the unforgivable sin of pushing back against some of Corporate Counsel Lynn Barrett’s edicts citing charter, bylaws and statutesClearly, he had to go.

Add these “resignations” to the retiring interim Broward Health Finance Director Art Wallace in mid-September who is being replaced by another Jackson Hospital North alumni (Barrett & Capasso) and the Jackson gang is getting back together in Broward, landing on their feet and making tons of public moneyWhat a deal!

Currently, there is no discernable effort to find a permanent CEO to replace the interim CEO Beverly Capasso.  And while this non-effort continues, Ms. Capasso is hiring permanent staff to fill purged employees.  This is not the action of an interim.  I again give voice to generally accepted charade that predict Capasso is here to stay until a competent and proficient Board is appointed.

The unavoidable optic of these “resignations” is that Broward Health Corporate Counsel Lynn Barrett, apparently together with her pal – Interim Broward Health CEO Beverly Capasso, appear to be consolidating their hold around the neck of Broward Health, purging anyone in their path.  The feckless Board continues to turn a blind eye and seems indifferent to the thousands of employees and the public they purportedly serve.   

Hush Money Severance Agreements

“Severance agreements are more than just a “thank you” payment from an employer. They could prevent an employee from working for a competitor and waive any right to pursue a legal claim against the former employer. Also, an employee may be giving up the right to seek unemployment compensation. … The payments in some cases will continue only until the former employee has found another job.” Wikipedia

Agreements as an inducement of employment can provide severance benefits by providing payments for each year of service, vacation & sick time accrued.  Typical severance agreements also include both a confidentiality and a general release of claims with a covenant not to sue with a non-disparagement clause.  With the high pay rate being offered to generally inexperienced candidates for senior Broward Health jobs – where loyalty and past friendship to Barrett and Capasso appears to be the most important employee quality, it is hard to justify offering severance benefits as a job inducement at Broward Health.

But typical severance agreements for private companies are inappropriate for public organizations.  In Florida, there could be an argument for confidentiality for narrow issues that can be discussed in “shade” meetings (meetings of public boards that can be conducted in private- by statute).  Non-disparagement and confidentiality prohibitions on any other issue in severance agreements – are not only inappropriate but also nothing more than hush money.

It is a hush money practice this Broward Health Board promised to discontinue, yet here they are – unchanged!

Action for the Board:      The board must execute an irrevocable release of any confidentiality, non-disparagement, and law-suit prohibition clause on any matters not lawfully excluded from public disclosure by statute to everyone who has an active severance agreement with Broward Health. 

Sunshine & Public Records

Transparency in more than an unfulfilled promise by Broward Health’s Board – it is the law.  But Broward Health’s gaggle of attorneys spend an inordinate amount of the public’s money finding ways to skirt the law and parse the statute.  

Here’s why Broward Health gets away with it.

If Broward Health violates the open government laws – either, the State Attorney initiates charges or someone files a lawsuit (as happened on Monday – see below).  In response, Broward Health hires lawyers to defend, and the public pays.  At the end, if a Judge assesses fines and/or fees to the successful litigation – again the public pays

The public always pays, right or wrong, for Broward Health’s “alleged” intentional violation of statutes governing government in the sunshine.  But, in the case of lawsuits, the public can learn from the allegations contained in the pleadings.  Note paragraphs 51 & 52 on page 12:

20170802PublicRecordsComplaint

In addition to seemingly constant public records violations (most of which are not significant enough to litigate), meeting procedures consistently violate sunshine rules with respect to meeting notices, the publishing of agenda’s, the availability of meeting documents and even procedural notice that the public may speak not only at the beginning of the meeting on any matter – but also speak to any item on the agenda at the time the item is on the floor.  It is more than aggravating that a public entity with more than a 2-billion-dollar budget is so cavalier with its meetings and decision process.

Action for the Board:       Post meeting notices, agenda’s and meeting documents timely and in advance of all Board meetings.  During the meeting, ask for public input on each and every action agenda item.  Follow the spirit and the law on public records.  Make transparency Broward Health’s policy.

It’s Time To Act.

I’ve decided to end my posts with a call to action. In addition to clearly delineating suggested remedial actions I think the Board should take. I include the following actions others might consider.  

  1. The medical staff at Broward Health (each Hospital) should conduct a No-Confidence vote on the Board and management of Broward Health.
  2. Everyone who is so inclined, should withhold financial and political assistance to Governor Scott‘s senatorial campaign until he appoints qualified people to fill the vacancies on the Broward Health Board. This means that physicians should stop sending money to Scott until he does his job.  (I intend to “out” all Broward contributors to the Governor or his various committees until he does his damn job!)
  3. Demand the Broward State Attorney convene a grand jury to examine Broward Health’s business dealings, employee policies, Broward Health’s handling of public records, shade meeting, sunshine statutes, and anything else that is discovered.  It’s time for real transparency.
  4. Demand the Governor report on the findings of his Inspector General’s and the reported FDLE investigation into Broward Health.
  5. Demand from your congressional delegation a report on the findings or progress of the HHS Inspector General’s, the Federal Grand jury and the FBI ongoing investigations.  Enough already.  If there is or were wrongdoing – deal with it, if not – remove the cloud of suspicion.
  6. Tell everyone that the conduct of the current Broward Health Board, and the mismanagement of the District is not only wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, but is also costing lives.

OK – I’m way over my word count, and I still have more to add.  It will have to wait.  In the meantime, we are at Clue 6 in the ongoing riddle.

Clues 1-4 are found in my post & commentsI’m Back

Clue 5 is found at the end of my Broward Health – lipstick on a pig[

The 6th Clue:

What does 112.313(1),(2),(4),(6) and 

this audio file have in common, and why?
(If you have trouble with the audio file – click & download & play).

Remember: You can send me anonymous tips and information through my About/Contact page.

Posted in Board Meetings, Corporate Management, Public Records | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More resignations deepen turmoil at Broward Health

 “Two more executives resigned this week at Broward Health.”

“Dionne Wong, senior vice president for human resources, and Mark Sprada, interim chief executive of Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, both resigned. Their departures follow the resignation of senior vice president Doris Peek, in the wake of a highly critical report on her handling of a marketing contract.”

The resignations come after Broward Health’s credit rating was lowered last month by S&P Global Ratings, which cited weak financial results and the leadership turmoil at the troubled system, legally known as the North Broward Hospital District.

“The resignations are likely to worsen the hospital system’s image in the eyes of credit rating agencies, whose assessments influence the cost of borrowing money. In a statement accompanying the downgrade of Broward Health’s credit in July, S&P Global analyst Stephen Infranco said, “The lower rating and negative outlook reflect continued weak operating results, thin cash flow and the continued void in permanent senior leadership, with many positions filled on an interim basis during a period of significant challenges and heightened scrutiny.”

Click Source for the full article.

Source: More resignations deepen turmoil at Broward Health

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Former Broward Health exec gets six-figure payout despite scathing report

A former Broward Health executive who resigned after a highly critical report will receive $214,008 under a severance agreement.  In return, she promised to not take Broward Health to court and “not engage in any activity either oral or written which disparage or adversely affect Broward Health.”

“A $214,008 gag order to shut her up contrary to Board promises to discontinue the practice and bring transparency to Broward Health.” Dan Lewis

See the well written story by Sun Sentinel’s David Fleshler.

See the executed severance agreement.

Source: Former Broward Health exec gets six-figure payout despite scathing report

Posted in Corporate Management | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Broward Health – lipstick on a pig

It’s Black and White

On the one hand, Broward Health interim CEO Paulene Grant, was accused by a physician of indirectly benefiting from an alleged kickback scheme involving two physicians who are still working at Broward Health.  Allegedly, the accusing physician had been denied hospital rotation privileges due to peer review action (bad physician). Notably, apparently Lynn Barrett, Broward Health Corporate Council hired outside council as an interim compliance officer who made a determination that Pauline Grant did not, in fact violate the anti-kickback  statues  NeverthelessMs. Grant was fired for cause and escorted from the premises as a result of these accusations.  Of course, there is pending litigation.

On the other hand, the most recent Independent Review Organization (IRO) report  accuses Senior Vice president Doris Peek of multiple “intentional misrepresentations” , “intentionally misleading the Board of Commissioners”, an “apparent fraudulent scheme” and  “engaging in ‘obsessive efforts’ to steer improper and excessive payments to a marketing firm owned by Ben Porritt, former national spokesman for John McCain’s presidential campaign… As a result, more than $1.9 million was paid to Porritt’s company, of which nearly $1.7 million was in excess of the amount agreed in the original contract, according to the report.” Ominously, the IRO concludes “We leave it to others to determine whether Peek, as a public employee of Broward Health, may have used or attempted to use her position to secure a special privilege or benefit for Outside Eyes and Porritt (112.313( 6), Florida Statutes) by improperly disclosing non-public intonation obtained by reason of her employment for the personal gain or benefit of Outside Eyes and Porritt ((112.313(8), Florida Statutes).”  It appears that in the face of these very serious allegations, Doris Peek was allowed to “retire” maintaining her benefits.  It is unclear if Ms. Peek also received a sweetheart severance package together with usual confidentiality agreement to keep her from talking about what really goes on at corporate.

The difference, unlike with Doris Peek, there is no suggestion that interim CEO Paulene Grant lied or mislead anyone or did anything to discredit either Broward Health or her position.

The difference is Paulene Grant is black, and Doris Peek is white.  It’s racism, pure and simple. The Board should be ashamed!

Voodoo Economics

On May 21, 2015, I posted OMG – Nabil El Sanadi’s First 5 Months!  and noted “Dr. Nabil El Sanadi’s first 5 months as CEO is peppered by his apparent arrogant administrative miss-steps, ‘discretionary’ spending seemingly more befitting a drunken sailor, a rumored lack of confidence vote by the medical staff, and ostensible team busting organizational paranoia that even by Broward Health standards is remarkable.”  Recent IRO disclosures and the significant downgrading of Broward Health’s credit rating based, in part on “The magnitude of the downgrade and maintenance of the negative outlook reflect a sharp decline in operating performance during the current FY 2016, representing significant negative variance relative to historical operating performance and budget, and a potential future breach of debt service coverage covenant,” The rating agency said. “The rating action also reflects significant transition in senior leadership, heightened external scrutiny, and depressed liquidity partly due to payout for recent legal settlement.” Suggest that since Dr. El Sanadi’s curious suicide, Broward Health has continued his financial and management incompetence with vigor.

Broward Health’s finances are sitting on a three-legged stool supported by taxpayers, Obama Care (in particular Medicaid & previously uninsured), and investments.  Commissioner Ure, a man who should know better, wants us to believe it is the effective interim management with a wonderful story to tell.   In fact, Broward Health is in perilous financial shape after little more than two years of financial mismanagement and incompetent leadership buoyed only by an historically strong balance sheet bought and paid for by years of taxpayer support and employee dedication.

Fortunately, the financial core of Broward Health’s balance sheet is found in its 8,000 dedicated health professionals, who while embarrassed by the current corporate leadership and board, continue to give their best for the health of the community.  In spite of their dedication and millions spent in “advertising”, occupancy and census for use of Broward Health’s services continue to be weak.

Note the startling differences in the financial reports from fiscal year 2015 & 2016.  The first from KPMG, a top 10 accounting firm, the second from a “shopped” accounting firm who agreed – for a paycheck, to ignore critical elements of Broward Health’s financial picture, like the federal regulatory actions and the numerous active federal, state and local investigations on both civil and criminal issues. (Click the links)

Fiscal Year 2015 Audit                                         Fiscal Year 2016 Audit

Transition in senior leadership

“significant transition in senior leadership” – Talk about understatement!

'Now that we all agree on the agenda, a show of hands on how many want to keep it hidden.'

In May, the Broward Health board without either comment or discussion appointed board member Beverly Capasso as interim CEO of Broward Health – its fourth CEO in 18 months, and Ms. Capasso voted for it!!!   Even after a formal sunshine complaint – apparently what is patently obvious to everyone, the State Attorney has yet to find a violation.   My guess, and hope is that any jury would reasonably determine that the vote had been impermissibly pre-arranged in smoke-filled back rooms – and all the commissioners who voted for it are guilty as hell!  But, that’s my opinion.

If you’ve reading this blog for any time, you may recall that El Sanadi with and through his corporate power-hungry coven consisting of IT – Doris Peek, Personnel – Dionne Wong, and Compliance – Donna Lewis, began a purge of all senior leadership with any opposition to their (I mean Dr. El Sanadi’s) ambitions.  The current IRO report on Peek gives a peek into the free-wheeling conduct of these El Sanadi’s familiars.

Subsequent to El Sanadi’s suicide, the power shifted to Lynn Barrett – Broward Health’s corporate attorney who had been hired by the El Sanadi commission of Rodriguez, DiPietro, Neiland and Wright after they purged the extraordinarily competent and well respected governmental attorney Sam Goren.  Interim CEO Keven Fusco, who had been hand-picked by El Sanadi after he purged the previous Chief Operating Officer, and he could stay just so long as he was a good boy, which wasn’t for long.

Compliance Donna Lewis was the first to go. after all, compliance is Barrett’s exclusive area.   Compliance was now how everyone at Broward Health would be measured – new current rules could and in cases where anyone opposed Barrett’s ambitions – would be applied retroactively (as in the case of Paulene Grant).

This compliance inquisition is carried out by the “Independent Review Organizations” IRO at the “direction” of Barrett which, on the surface, is perfectly understandable.  But there are fair questions about exactly how was the IRO chosen.  One would expect that a Request for Proposal (RFP) would have been issued for this lucrative contract.   No RFP.

Instead there are a few tangled Barrett private relationships including purported best friend Myla Reizen, Heidi Sorenson, Laura Ellis and Scott Newton author of the IRO report.  Notwithstanding these apparent irregularities and undisclosed relationships, the substance of the IRO report appear both comprehensive and independent even if the targets are “coincidentally” persons pushing back against Barrett’s ambitions. 

Lynn Barrett

However, with substantial complaints and questions relating to Barrett’s conduct including (but not limited to): complaints and calls related to Barrett, Reizen, Newton and Perez; Barrett’s Broward Health’s hush money severance policy; The Baker Donelson invoices; The Foley invoices; corrective action plans for PPUC contracts; etc…  It is curious why the IRO is not reviewing these matters with the same enthusiasm as he reviews those publicly speaking out against Barrett’s alleged excesses.  Certainly, a circumstantial argument could be made that the IRO is not as independent as it should be.

The only thing worse than being a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocriteTennessee Williams

Tic Toc, time is running out.

Riddle:
Which Broward Health Commissioner might find it’s a good time to quietly resign?

Clues 1-4 are found in my post & comments “I’m Back”

The 5th clue is the link between Barbara Stanwyck, Ursula Thiess, and Jay Cohen and you’ll have the ethical key to this Commissioner’s problem at Broward Health.

Remember: you can send me anonymous tips and information through my About/Contact page.

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