The dispute between MetroHealth and its former CEO, Dr Akram Boutros, escalated again.
Boutros on Monday, November 28, applied lawsuit in Cuyahoga County General Court detailed what he alleges were “repeated violations of the Ohio Open Meetings Act” and board regulations MetroHealth’s system and its president, Vanessa L. Whiting.
A statement from Boutros’ attorney, Jason Bristol of Cohen Rosenthal & Kramer LLP, said the lawsuit “is the result of an investigation that clearly demonstrates an indiscriminate disregard for Ohio’s Open Meetings Act and its members.” rules of the board … in both the hiring process for the new health system CEO and the so-called compensation investigation of Dr. Boutros.
Bristol’s statement said the lawsuit “requires a statement and an injunction to nullify actions taken by the board in violation of statute and to require the council to comply with its requirements in the future. We are asking the court to drop the illegal investigation of Dr. Boutros and nullify the termination for reasons of Dr. Boutros” as CEO.
MetroHealth’s board on Monday, November 21, announced it had fired Boutros and said he had awarded himself more than $1.9 million in unauthorized bonuses over four years. The health system said it discovered inappropriate bonuses during the transition from Boutros, who plans to step down as CEO at the end of the year, to incoming CEO Airica Steed, an executive veteran healthcare in Chicago.
Boutros have denied the allegations and said the board has authorized all bonuses. He said the system was retaliating against him for blowing the whistle on what he described as a board violation of the state’s sunshine law.
Whiting, through MetroHealth’s media relations team, issued the following statement:
“We are disappointed, though not surprised, that Dr. Boutros has filed a lawsuit. His allegations are nothing more than a distraction from these basic facts: That he has rewarded himself. nearly $2 million in bonuses without proper review or authorization and that he concealed those payments from MetroHealth trustees and the public.
“We believe the board acted in accordance with Ohio law, but no one should forget the irony that someone who has actively concealed his actions for five years now tries to make himself a sun protection.
“We’ll send our feedback in due time, but urge everyone to read Tucker Ellis report results from the investigation we have conducted into the actions of Dr. Boutros. It speaks for itself.”
Boutros’ lawsuit comes after MetroHealth released it on Friday, November 25, one report which details the health system’s case against its former CEO.
The report is based on an investigation by law firm Tucker Ellis and focuses on “Additional Performance-Based Variable Compensation” or additional PBVC – bonuses for top executives if the system works certain financial goals.
It states that “neither the board nor the national compensation consultants of MetroHealth Systems were aware of any additional PBVC compensation paid to Boutros and Boutros appears to be the key individual.” worked with claims consultant, Sullivan Cotter, to prepare data that would then be used by both claims consultants.” The report added that Boutros “failed to acknowledge or disclose the receipt of its PBVC additional bonuses at other times to which such disclosure is relevant, including during contract negotiations.”
A spokesman at the office of Cuyahoga County District Attorney Michael O’Malley on Monday would only confirm that the office has reached out to the Ohio Ethics Commission on the matter, but declined to comment further.
The MetroHealth report, prepared by John McCaffrey, a Tucker Ellis partner, stated: “The facts here suggest that Boutros may have engaged in conduct related to office theft. , in violation of RC 2921.41, and presumably forgery, in violation of RC 2921.13.”
This story first appeared in Crain’s Cleveland Enterprise.