by Christine Sexton
Accusations that executive staff at Broward Health are withholding documents from investigators continue to mount with the latest charges coming from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration.
Melinda Miguel, Scott’s chief inspector general, sent a letter to Broward Health Board of Commissioners Chairman Rocky Rodriguez Monday saying she was “deeply troubled by what may be an intentional effort to withhold requested emails from my office” and told him that Broward Health has until Sept. 23 to provide her office with all the emails she requested from the health care district.
Miguel’s letter specifically notes that she is looking for emails from Chip LaMarca, Broward County Commissioner and Vice President of Community Relations for the Zimmerman Advertising Agency; former commissioner and board chairman David Di Pietro; and, former Chief Executive Officer Nabil El Sanadi, who commited suicide in January.
El Sanadi’s suicide triggered Miguel’s investigation into the health care system and its contracts, including a proposed $71.4 million no-compete contract for the Zimmerman agency.
She also has requested emails from any commissioner who served on the board between Nov. 1, 2013 and April 22, 2016.
According to Miguel’s letter, Broward Health internal auditor Vinnette Hall twice has responded to her office’s requests for emails. Both times, though, she omitted emails. Miguel’s office discovered the first omission in August after conducting interviews with staff.
After making the second request for the emails, “we believed our request has been fulfilled,” Miguel wrote in her letter.
Not so, according to Broward Health General Counsel Lynn Barrett. She contacted Miguel’s office on Sept. 1 to say that she had “discovered” deleted emails or emails placed in folders within the requested individuals email accounts that had not been given to the chief inspector general.
“Please consider this my final request for Broward Health to produce the email communications requested by my office as we have made every attempt to obtain these records in the spirit of transparency and cooperation,” Miguel wrote.
Broward Health is one of the largest public health systems in the nation and in Florida, and in 2015 had 8,233 employees. [READ MORE]