During a lengthy meeting this morning that saw roughly 40 speakers testify in favor of embattled Broward Health Commissioner Joseph Cobo, his fellow commissioners voted unanimously to send the investigative report alleging potential ethics violations to Gov. Charlie Crist. The Florida governor appoints commissioners to preside over the North Broward Hospital District and has the power to suspend or remove them.
It seems unlikely he'll do either, especially in light of remarks made at this morning's meeting by persons whose names appear in the report but who claim they were not interviewed by the investigator, attorney Martin Goldberg. Others who were interviewed claim that the report misrepresented their statements. Attorney Stuart Michelson, who has been retained by Cobo, questioned the motives of the district's recently terminated general counsel, Marc Goldstone, who he said advised Cobo not to bring an attorney to his own interview with the investigator.
The investigation found "credible" evidence that Cobo may have exploited his public office to help business for his private firm, a medical management consulting firm. Among the powerful people who came to his defense, "witch hunt" was a popular refrain.
In Goldstone's place, attorney Sam Goren advised the commission, giving board members seven options. Pressed by Chair Mike Fernandez to give his recommendation, he suggested that because the governor appointed commissioners and had the authority to discipline or remove them, it would be best to put the issue in his hands.