Ex-New York hospital CEO's severance package focus of criminal probe

The Onondaga County District Attorney's office and the New York Inspector General are investigating SUNY's Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, according to the Times Union.

Here are seven things to know:

1. The Onondaga County District Attorney has launched a broad grand jury investigation of Upstate Medical University that focuses on hiring decisions, severance packages and construction projects, according to the report.

2. Sources told the Times Union the grand jury investigation is examining a severance package awarded to former Upstate Medical University Hospital CEO John McCabe, MD, who was paid $660,500 for a 14-month off-campus assignment that involved no work, according to documents obtained by syracuse.com. The payment was part of a confidential nondisclosure agreement syracuse.com obtained through a freedom of information law request.

3. A person briefed on the grand jury investigation told the Times Union the district attorney is scrutinizing the deal, which was approved by the university's president, because it may have provided payment of public dollars without consideration of work.

4. Dr. McCabe told syracuse.com Sept. 7 that he has not been contacted by anyone from the offices of the district attorney or the inspector general.

5. A $200 million building project that was overseen by Upstate Medical University's former chief of staff and senior vice president, Sergio Garcia, is also a focus of the investigation, a source briefed on the probe told the Times Union. Mr. Garcia resigned from his position in May after a report from the Times Union debunked several assertions he made in a 2017 speech, including a story about how he narrowly escaped a car bombing in Afghanistan.

6. Mr. Garcia told syracuse.com Sept. 7 he has not heard from anyone involved in the investigation.

7. Onondaga District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick confirmed his office is working cooperatively with New York Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott on an investigation into several issues at Upstate Medical University. However, he declined to comment further when contacted by the Times Union, citing the ongoing investigation.

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