Broward News

Investigation Dropped Against Former Hospital District Attorney

Broward State Attorney's Office has elected not to file criminal charges against Marc Goldstone, the former general counsel of Broward Health who was fired in May of last year after the hospital district's commissioners claimed he'd deceived them about how he would be admitted to the Florida Bar Association.

The move should come as no surprise to anyone who's followed the district's recent political scandals -- of which this was the least. Rather, the more interesting Goldstone question is whether the bar concerns were a red herring. Commissioners may have had other political motives for engineering the ouster of Goldstone, as well as his associate general counsel, Joe Truhe, barely six months after they'd started.

When the pair were fired in mid-May, they were preparing to deal with a looming legal crisis. Past district policies that had left the district vulnerable to the threat of a federal investigation for fraud. In addition, Goldstone was to be counted on to give commissioners a recommendation about whether to discipline Commissioner Joseph Cobo, who was investigated for abusing his public power for private gain.

With Goldstone and Truhe out of the way, the newly appointed interim general counsel, Sam Goren, recommended a very mild treatment for Cobo: that the investigative report be sent to the office of Gov. Charlie Crist, who had appointed Cobo to the position. (In the eight months since, Crist's office has not punished Cobo -- or even acknowledged the allegations against him.) The Broward State Attorney's Office thought the report on Cobo's conduct was egregious enough to warrant a criminal investigation, which remains active.

In November Goldstone and Truhe filed whistleblower lawsuits against the hospital district. More on this subject later this week.

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Thomas Francis