Florida Bulldog by Dan Christensen
February 1, 2018
Rocked by scandal and run by leaders under criminal indictment for violating Florida’s Sunshine Law, Broward Health is now moving aggressively to choke off disclosure of potentially embarrassing public records.
Florida Bulldog and others recently have used the state’s public records law to request information about how many lawyers Broward Health is paying and how much it’s paying them. Those requests have been stymied, however, by new up front demands for thousands of dollars in administrative and legal fees before being able to review those records.
Broward Health, whose legal name is the North Broward Hospital District, has traditionally provided public records free of charge or at low cost even as the law allows for the fees to cover “the extensive use of information technology or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the agency.”
The new stonewalling has been Broward Health’s official policy since July when it was quietly implemented by Interim President/CEO Beverly Capasso and General Counsel Lynn Barrett, both of whom are under indictment. The district’s policy-setting board of commissioners did not approve it, according to a review of board minutes and a copy of the policy, GA-016-005.
On Wednesday, Broward Health’s board decided to abandon its long search for a permanent President/CEO and voted to give Capasso the $650,000-a-year job even as she awaits trial.
“This was done to prevent people from getting information,” said former Broward Health Commissioner Joe Cobo. “If it will cost you $4,000 you most likely will back off.” [READ MORE]