5 Broward Health leaders indicted on criminal charges: 7 things to know

The Broward County State Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday against five officials from North Broward Health District, which runs Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health, for allegedly violating Florida's open-meetings laws to bring about the termination of the health system's former interim CEO.

Here are seven things to know about the allegations against the leaders.

1. The state attorney's office served summonses Tuesday on Broward Health Interim President and CEO Beverly Capasso, General Counsel Lynn Barrett, board chairman Rocky Rodriguez, board member Christopher T. Ure and former board member Linda Robison. The summonses were issued after a grand jury returned an indictment against them, according to the Sun Sentinel.

2. The leaders are accused of holding private meetings at which they decided to oust former Interim CEO Pauline Grant. All five were charged with conspiracy to violate the state's public-meetings law, called the Sunshine Law. Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Ure and Ms. Robison were also each charged with two counts of violating the public-meetings law, and Ms. Barrett was charged with solicitation to violate the public-meetings law.

3. Mr. Ure told the Sun Sentinel he is confident he will be exonerated. Lawyers representing Broward Health, Ms. Barrett, Ms. Capasso and Mr. Rodriguez issued a statement calling the charges "the most misguided prosecution we have ever seen."

"This deeply flawed investigation was predetermined, biased, and manipulated from the start," the defense lawyers said. "The SAO's professed interest about enforcing the Sunshine Laws is contradicted by its refusal to subpoena the most critical witness to the grand jury that has essential exculpatory evidence about defendants’ compliance with the Sunshine Laws."

4. Broward Health's board voted 4-1 on Dec. 1, 2016, to fire Ms. Grant. The agenda for the meeting provided no indication that the board was considering Ms. Grant's dismissal.

5. The board voted to remove Ms. Grant from her position after an independent counsel review showed potential violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute. A subsequent independent investigation found Ms. Grant "ran afoul" of federal anti-kickback law when awarding emergency room contracts to orthopedic physicians seeking to participate in Broward Health North's on-call emergency department rotation.

6. The independent investigation was engineered by Ms. Barrett, who arranged for board members to meet individually with the outside lawyers who reviewed the allegations against Ms. Grant.

7. Ms. Grant, who claims no wrongdoing, sued Ms. Barrett and the board in December 2016. She claimed they violated the Florida open-meetings law to bring about her termination. The health system counter-sued Ms. Grant this month.

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