[UPDATED] Curse of the Holy Cross: Lauderdale Hospital Haunted by Dirty Donors
Of all the local nonprofit organizations that have been stung by recent investment scandals, Holy Cross Medical Center wins the Triple Crown. Or is it the Grand Slam? Check out the list of medical facilities on the main campus.
There's the Michael and Diane Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center, honoring donations that came from the fortune that couple enjoyed through a business relationship with Bernard Madoff.
Then there's the Zachariah Family Wellness Pavilion, named after Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah, currently awaiting civil trial based on allegations that he and his brother profited from a fraudulent stock trading scheme in 2005.
Finally, the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center, for the late car-dealing giant who was convicted of cheating his taxes, then later was embroiled in a federal corruption investigation of former Broward Sheriff Nick Navarro, based on Moran's being both the biggest donor to the sheriff's campaign and his having received a no-bid contract to supply the department with vehicles, minus the warranties.
The fourth base in the grand slam? Of course, Scott Rothstein. Earlier this month, Holy Cross had to give back his $1 million donation to the hospital's women's center, where a sign was to be fashioned "The Rothstein Family Foundation Lobby."
But don't toss that sign! It would make a terrific, viciously ironic addition to the waiting area of Rothstein's federal prison.
With all these generous souls lingering in legal purgatory, who will take Holy Cross' $26 million "Moran Challenge"? The hospital is asking for those donations as part of its effort to expand its Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Research Institute.
On his blog, John DeGroot points out that the hospital is in no condition to make additions to the campus. He found that the hospital is carrying some $25 million in debt that should seem to be a first priority. What's more, the hospital's stingy record of providing care to the indigent begs a question of whether it really deserves its tax-exempt nonprofit status.
I've left a message with Holy Cross executive staff and hope to hear back soon about how they'll resolve their debts and add to the research institute now that the law has caught up with some of their deep-pocketed donors.
Update: In response to my questions, Holy Cross spokeswoman Christine Moncrieffe released the following statement:
As a non-profit mission-driven health-care ministry, Holy Cross Hospital has long relied on the generosity of benefactors. We are grateful for the community support we continue to receive, and all gifts donated to Holy Cross Hospital are used in accordance with the donor's intent.
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