Will Crist Respond to Scandal in Broward Hospital District? | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Will Crist Respond to Scandal in Broward Hospital District?

We should know the answer to that question in about an hour. Yesterday I sent an email to the governor's press secretary with a link to the post I made Wednesday. That post told of how the North Broward Hospital District Chairman Mike Fernandez demanded that an ethics investigation be cut short, despite the protests of the investigator. I was told I'd hear back by noon today.

Both Fernandez and Joseph Cobo, the commissioner whose ethical conduct was under investigation, rose to their positions atop the public hospital district thanks to appointments by Crist, to whose political campaigns Fernandez, for one, has been a generous donor. Cobo's case has been scooped up by the Broward State Attorney's Office for potential criminal charges, based on allegations that he used his public role in the $1 billion public health care system to help business in his private consulting firm.

My note isn't the only one that Crist's office has received on this subject. The district's former associate general counsel, Joe Truhe, who has filed a lawsuit against Broward Health and a bar complaint against its current general counsel, sent a note to the governor yesterday, along with documents from the Cobo investigation showing Fernandez's role in its premature conclusion. Here's the full letter.

Several weeks ago, Crist's office received both a copy of the Cobo investigation's findings and a tape of the May 27 meeting at which the commission considered how to address those findings. The tape is full of Cobo supporters who testified that the investigator was incompetent, unethical and cowardly for not attending the meeting. Meanwhile, Fernandez neglected to fess up to the part he played in making the report incomplete and didn't bother to tell them that he told the investigator not to come to the meeting. From Truhe's letter:

I write to advise that the attached disclosures from public record requests reflect a deliberate attempt to provide you with a misleading record for your consideration and ask that you investigate the circumstances surrounding that effort.