Dr. El Sanadi’s response to my public records request (see Part 3) flies in the face of his public claims of transparency as Broward Health’s CEO. My El Sanadi public records request can be seen here.
Soon after I submitted my public records request to Dr. El Sanadi, Broward Health through their corporate counsel’s office hired a law firm to represent and respond on his behalf. Although this is common, and given his position as CEO entirely appropriate, it did create a layer of delay and formality in the process. The public records request response can be seen here (it is a very large PDF file -22 Megs). Any redacted file or exempted record must be noted as specified by section 119 of the public records law. This section states in part:
This section further provides that if the person who has custody of a public record contends that the record or part of it is exempt from inspection, he shall state the basis of the exemption which he contends is applicable to the record, including the statutory citation to an exemption created or afforded by statute, and, if requested by the person seeking the right under this subsection to inspect, examine, or copy the record, he shall state in writing and with particularity the reasons for his conclusion that the record is exempt.
To ensure that Dr. El Sanadi was given every opportunity to be transparent in his dealings with Broward Health, I sent his “Public Record’s” attorney the following request:
Let me know if you take the position on behalf of Dr. El Sanadi that his response to my public records request is complete, and that he has produced all the requested records in his possession and control, and/or asserted an exemption for their production in the exemption log.
Their response was:
Within the parameters of your request, there are no other records for which Dr. El Sanadi is an agency or custodian of public records.
To the extent you are seeking his communications and other records with BSO, Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise and Tamarac in his capacity as medical director for those agencies, he is an independent contractor and not an agency or custodian of public records. Each record you seek is in the possession of those agencies. If you want those records, you can go to those agencies and request them. Those agencies will exercise their prerogative to decide which records are exempt or exempt and confidential. I urge you to review §§395.50 & 401.30, Florida Statutes. With limited exceptions, none of which are applicable here, Art. I, §24 of the Constitution and Chapter 119 place the responsibility and burden of compliance on government agencies, not on individual citizens.
The issue and the point of my public records request was to provide Dr. El Sanadi an opportunity to be transparent in his contractual dealings with Broward Health. Specifically, Paragraph 6.3 of his employment agreement provides in part that he “agree[s] to refrain from any other service or employment which would restrict his ability to devote his full time to employment as President/CEO”. Further his agreement allows him to be a board member of any organization that does not create a conflict prohibited by Chapter 112, Part III, Florida Statutes. You will recall that, according to public corporate records, in addition to being the highly paid medical director for the Broward Sheriff’s office and the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, and Tamarac, Dr. El Sanadi is an officer and/or board member of the following active corporations:
- South Florida Fire Rescue Medical Directors’ Association, LLC
- N & L Services, Inc.
- Total EMS, Inc.
- El Sanadi Holdings, LLC
- Green Harbor Company
In addition to these outside duties, he is allowed to work in the emergency room for 4 hours per week. Now, no one questions Dr. El Sanadi’s abilities as a distinguished emergency medicine clinician, but all these other non-Broward Health duties, responsibilities, and contracts raise the issue of Dr. El Sanadi’s ability to faithfully fulfill his contractual obligation to be a full time CEO for Broward Health. Further, flying in the face of his constant assertion of transparency is Dr. El Sanadi’s refusal to produce the requested documents putatively knowing full well that, at the very least – in the case of the medical directorship contracts – they are certainly public records.
Finally, Dr. El Sanadi’s refusal to be transparent about his private businesses is troubling at best. See my previous post “Has the Office of Inspector General seen Dr. El Sanadi’s CEO Contract with Broward Health? “. Perhaps what is more troubling is that the members of Broward Health’s Board of Commissioners are apparently not asking these questions!
Through his attorneys, Dr. El Sanadi has claimed many exemptions to the public records statutes. He, through his attorneys, has taken an over-broad position, which is ostensibly contrary to the mission of Broward Health and the public good, but completely consistent with the seeming attitude what happens at Broward Health is none of the public’s business (see my post – “It’s none of your business! Really?”).
Once again, instead of simply responding transparently, Dr. El Sanadi evidently plays games. Perhaps if he had just provided the records, the issue would be closed, but instead he obfuscates the issue to the extent that it seems that he must be hiding something. There are people who walk the talk, then apparently there is Dr. El Sanadi. He should not be allowed to even say the word “transparently”!
Clearly, thanks to Dr. El Sanadi’s ostensible evasion – the issue of his contract, his companies, and his outside employment is far from over. Stay tuned!