Florida Bulldog by Dan Christensen
December 19, 2017
Whistleblower lawsuits filed separately by Broward Health’s deposed CEO and chairman are adding fresh details about the corruption scandal that’s engulfed the taxpayer-backed hospital system.
The latest case, filed in Broward Circuit Court Dec. 8, accuses Broward Health, through General Counsel Lynn Barrett, of firing former CEO Pauline Grant on Dec. 1, 2016 “in retaliation for actions she took in an attempt to investigate and remedy misfeasance and malfeasance within the public agency.”
News of Grant’s lawsuit follows last week’s sweeping indictment of four current and former Broward Heath commissioners and its general counsel for violations of Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law. The charges are second-degree misdemeanors, and the accused are to be arraigned together on Jan. 22.
Gov. Rick Scott has the authority to remove each of the accused, but has so far chosen not to do so. Unless removed, the five are scheduled to appear Wednesday at 4 p.m. for a regular board meeting at Broward Health’s headquarters at Spectrum Office Park, 1700 NW 49th St. Unit 150, Fort Lauderdale.
Also still unfolding is Broward Health Commission Chairman David Di Pietro’s politically explosive whistleblower complaint, first reported by Florida Bulldog in September. In an amended complaint, Di Pietro has included more information about alleged political influence and bribery.
The 25-year, no bid deal
The intrigue involves the ultimately successful effort of Fort Myers-based 21st Century Oncology – a large anti-cancer company financially tied to Gov. Scott – to obtain an exclusive 25-year, non-bid contract to provide lucrative radiation oncology services at Broward Health.
In his original complaint, Di Pietro said 21st Century lobbyist William “Billy” Rubin, a confidant of Gov. Scott, bribed then-CEO Frank Nask to support the deal with kickbacks of financial and job security and the governor’s political protection. The governor appoints Broward Health’s commissioners, who hire the CEO. At the time, Nask’s salary was $680,000, plus performance bonuses and benefits.
A copy of Di Pietro’s amended complaint was filed Nov. 22 in 21st Century’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in New York City, where Di Pietro seeks to avoid having his potential fraud claim discharged. It has not yet been filed in the pending whistleblower case in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
Among other things, the suit contends that 21st Century and its former CEO Dr. Daniel Dosoretz illegally schemed as early as 2006 to take over radiation oncology services at Broward Health.
It says that back then, Dosoretz promised then-CEO Alan Levine that in return for accepting 21st Century’s proposal, the company’s doctors would refer high volumes of patients to Broward Health for surgeries, admissions and other services. It is illegal under federal law to offer or make referrals of Medicare patients in return for anything of value. [READ MORE]