Taxpayers’ tab for Broward Health’s lawyers (not counting defense of indicted leaders)

By Dan Christensen, 

Indicted: Broward Health General Counsel Lynn Barrett, left. Also, clockwise from upper right, former Commissioner Linda Robison, CEO Beverly Capasso, former Commission Chairman Rocky Rodriguez and Commissioner Christopher Ure.

Broward Health expects to pay outside law firms nearly $1 million more this year than in 2017, with its annual legal expenses now budgeted at more than $6.1 million.

Those expenses don’t include any additional legal costs to indemnify at taxpayer expense five current and former Broward Health officials under indictment since December for violating Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law.

The defendants: CEO/President Beverly Capasso, General Counsel Lynn Barrett, Commissioner Christopher Ure and former commissioners Rocky Rodriguez and Linda Robison. Their trial is expected to start in August.

Under the district’s bylaws, defendant/General Counsel Barrett directs and controls the hiring of attorneys. She approves fee agreements and signs off on invoices. Barrett, 53, did not respond to an emailed request for comment. Broward Health collected about $137 million in property-tax revenue in 2017.

The district disclosed the information about its general legal costs last month in response to a public-records request by Florida Bulldog. The disclosure, made in lieu of providing copies of requested invoices and other records that Broward Health’s law firm said would cost thousands of dollars, occurred shortly before those lawyers declared that the safety-net hospital system for the northern two-thirds of Broward would no longer answer questions about its operations.

A request for information about Broward Health’s in-house attorneys led the district to identify  seven in-house attorneys with base annual salaries ranging from $91,500 to Barrett’s $340,000. Barrett’s four top lieutenants, with titles of senior associate general counsel, draw base salaries of $239,000, $222,000, $175,000 and $165,000.

The salaries of those attorneys, who also stand to collect a bonus of 17.5 percent of their salary this year if a recently proposed management incentive plan is implemented, total about $1.3 million, according to Broward Health’s information. But the 2018 budget for the general counsel’s office is $2,156,966, or more than 60 percent higher, indicating that salary hikes for in-house are in the works.

Payments to outside lawyers also went up. A request for the district’s Attorney Vendor List revealed that last year payments were made to 31 law firms totaling slightly more than $3 million. Most striking was the $1.94 million paid to Foley & Lardner, a law firm with close ties to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who appoints the district’s commissioners.

Big money to Foley & Lardner

Last November, the Broward Health blog, operated by local activist Dan Lewis, obtained vendor payment histories from the district showing that from March 1, 2015 to Nov. 10, 2017 Broward Health paid Foley & Lardner $5.5 million.

The Foley & Lardner law firm removed from its Facebook page this photo of Gov. Scott paying a visit to its Jacksonville office on Aug. 24, 2015. Pictured with the governor, left to right, are Scott’s former environmental secretary Herschel Vinyard, office managing partner Kevin Hyde and Karen Bowling, Scott’s ex-partner in the Solantic urgent-care clinic chain.

Foley & Lardner’s Republican-heavy roster includes Scott’s former environmental protection secretaries Herschel Vinyard and Jon Steverson as well as Christopher Kise, general counsel to Scott’s transition team and later appointed by Scott to the board of Enterprise Florida. Also, Scott’s former Information Technology coordinator and chief information officer for Florida Jason Allison joined the law firm last  year as director of public affairs.

Jesse Panuccio, Scott’s former general counsel and chief of the Department of Economic Opportunity, left Foley & Lardner after a year to become the third highest-ranking official in President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice. Karen Bowling, Scott’s partner in the multi-million dollar Solantic urgent-care clinic chain, was Foley & Lardner’s director of public affairs until September 2016.

Foley & Lardner, ranked by Law360 this month as the 32nd largest U.S. law firm, has been generous to the Republican Party of Florida, giving it more than $195,000 during the last two gubernatorial campaigns won by Scott.

The other highest-paid firms: Bradley Arant ($328,000) and Waller Lansden ($149,000), both retained by Barrett to investigate and oust former Broward Health President/CEO Pauline Grant, and Akerman LLP ($155,000).

Former Broward Health Commissioner Joe Cobo believes the district’s calculation of the fees paid to Foley & Lardner is low.

“That’s a lowball number,” Cobo said. “It should be over $2 million. I saw one of the reports on fees at a board meeting a while ago. I think they are playing with the numbers.”

The district’s 2018 budget includes expenses for outside legal expenses and consulting totaling just under $4 million. Again, that does not include the costs of providing lawyers for the five indicted current and former Broward Health officials.

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Latest comments

  • Barrett and The Board have a dereliction of duty.
    Simply- They should settle the lawsuit with Pauline Grant because everyone knows it was Lynn’s revenge. Lynn should not be permitted by the board to waste dollars on personal revenge.
    Also- they know they broke with sunshine law, just admit it, pay the fine and move on. Stop giving money to lawyer friends- the patients need the money!

  • Not surprised at all. Im wondering if this is why Sandra is leaving???? Broward Health is run by crooks. I can’t wait to see them all get what they deserve. Please start by walking Beverly Capasso out like y’all did the Chaplin. Karma is a bitch

  • Sandara and Heather fired the Chaplin. He new they were not full of the spirit but something else that starts with an “s” Poof he’s gone.

  • but this is just a charade a joke we have people we trusted with Broward health, to help to take us forward. We were extremely stable with Pauline grant, Mark and Robyn Then unfortunately those we trusted betrayed the citizens of Broward and the employees. They committed a crime for which a grand jury will send then to trial. The President, Legal council ,and Board members knew what they were doing. Then to ceremoniously strip employees of their jobs is just also criminal . Mark was amazing The new CEO I think she was put in a difficult situation, not making excuses, she was not perfect but come on
    In the mean time people are fired, moral is exceptional low, the team has been destroyed It will take years to re build Then the head of HR sends out a threatening e mail to all managers! go figure
    We can hope the Joint Commission will come in and decimate leadership And for all you from corporate reading this you deserve to fail
    I am so surprised the employees have stayed so calm through all of this

    I shake my head in disbelief at you all

  • I heard there are undercover agents in the hospitals

  • No one will trust any new leader that Bev, Gino, Allen, Peter or Lynn selects.

  • They are all friends of friends just like at Jackson Health. Look at all incompetent lawyers that followed the new CEO from Jackson Health(nice fake degree) which at one point was losing 250 million annually. Broward needs to bring in new personal with hospital experience and out of the state of Florida. I can’t believe the Feds, HHS(Director owned the contracting company) or the FBI has done nothing. The Feds let Broward Health write their own compliance regulations to police themselves. No more consultants bring in a new outside team to replace legal, materials, C-suite and HR or sell to Memorial they have their healthcare economics under control. Also, check into service contracts and you’ll find the kickbacks. I thank the hard working people at Broward Health, there’s a small hand full of people that should never have been leading this system.

  • he leaders selected by Capasso et al are all of the same thinking, they all need to go, Sandra is leaving now we need Alice booted out. The whole system is now from Jackson Cleveland clinic and Imperial, we need outside people
    Anyone who does not agree with them is ousted out they run the place like the Gastapo they are the equivalent of SS officers, if anyone attacks one of their people they are quick to protect them
    Memorial would be a better idea for BH I agree and I also agree the contracts department and materials is corrupt like you will not believe, This is very unreal and needs investigating

  • BH needs a leader like Carlos Migoya

    He fired Capasso,

    We are laughing at the corruption at BH and wondering when this house of cards will fall

  • The community has lost faith in BH, they are unable to operate reliably there remains gross corruption , and the hospital does not have any medical excellence, it is not patient friendly and financially unstable, as well as this the upper leaders are criminally indicted Patients are not choosing the system for care and the physicians are not world class They are not academic centers . The actual hospitals are old need re building and the recent face lift’s is like putting lipstick on a pig,
    BH is now a blip on the landscape of Broward county, I have to tell you it was much better with Grant and BHMC was so much better with our beloved Mark and Robyn alas they left. It is almost a medal for anyone now who leaves BH, not a mark on their character
    The current upper administration is a disgrace, criminally indicted by a grand jury, if the normal employees were indicted like this then they would be fired BH is not providing world class medicine, it struggles with its past and the future looks bleak, Safety and quality are a complete disgrace look at leapfrog scores, not one A in Broward Health and yet the quality managers remain
    BH is a blip it is a blot on the landscape The governor and others should be looking carefully

  • The only leader the staff and physicians will trust is Mark Sprada. If they were smart they would hire someone who can get things done, is positive and motivating. Mark cares about one thing, patient care.

  • Mark was amazing …….I agree ……but so was Pauline
    The staff and physicians do NOT trust anyone in the current management or upper administration

    Our current soon to leave CEO was an exercise in futility

    I am beginning to believe the only was out is to leave

    We should have a mass sick out or all resign

    Poor patients

  • Just stop!!! You people who think Sprada, Grant, or anyone else are coming back, or need to come back, are just as naive as the idiots running Broward Health. Have you lost your minds???

    Dont forget, some of the admins that were walked out, all had their hand in the fall of BH… thanks to Nask and his corrupt employees and buddies (cough cough Mr. Colombia)

    Grant was no saint either.. many felt she was racist, a long with some of her dictator forums and demands for everyone to smile at her and day hello in the hallways. Let’s not forget, Grant fired people for not agreeing with her agenda too!!

    Sprada had his flaws as well, let’s no kid ourselves! Not to mention all these people you’re talking about have moved on, and dont give two craps about BH any longer!! They’re all looking at BH and laughing and are grateful they’re not at BH any more!!! Stop living in the past!!!

    YOU GUYS WANT CHANGE, THEN MAKE IT HAPPEN!!! Go on strike! Plan an employee walk out, do planned demonstrations at the corporate buildings!! File complaints with OSHA, ADA or even Joint Commission, call the FBI, call someone! DO SOMETHING!!!

    Everyone here is so quick to point the finger BUT NOT ONE OF YOU ARE DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!!

    From the out side looking in… you all need to stand up, bitch slap Capasso, turn some heads, and stop crying!!!


    Rome is falling, it’s time you all did something!

  • What everyone is currently thinking, but no one is saying

    Shall i first start by stating, I am a long term employee at Broward Health. I have not a blemish on my employee record, I have been considered a high-performer and I pride myself on my integrity. Furthermore, this is not the rant of an angry, disgruntled, bitter employee. In fact, quite the opposite.

    I applaud the new leadership that has come in. You all have truly undertaken a massive project that will take years to fix. Probably well past your tenure at Broward. Kudos to you for putting your life on hold and making sacrifices to your family. Further applause to you for being able to kiss your spouse goodbye in the morning, drop your kids off at school or even being able to chat up a neighbor, without feeling any sense of guilt about the job you are doing at Broward Health.

    I will further state to the new leadership, I really hope that you are all just naive and have no idea what you have gotten yourselves into. Perhaps, somehow, you think you are doing good by the system, the dedicated employees and tax payers. I will say this: nothing good is happening at BH right now. The employees are suffering and walking on eggshells every day. Yes, perhaps you have saved millions of dollars, somewhere, somehow. But, how does that make it okay to hire everyone’s best friend, in a leadership role, provide them a lucrative salary and bonus when then we have to turn around, and lay off numerous long time employees? A common person with common sense, can tell you, the optics are not good.

    New leadership talks about change. Bringing about change to BH in a positive light to undo the chaos of the past few years. Let’s talk about change for a second. Anyone that has taken any type of management course for a higher level degree, knows that change within an organization must happen in a methodical manner. In fact, there are eight proven steps to be exact, in order to bring about any type of drastic change in a large organization. New leadership had decided to go about this change in the same manner they change the oil in their car; quite frequent and fairly predictable. You want employees to be engaged and provide excellent patient care, it starts at the top. We need to know we have individuals in leadership capacities that know how to run an organization. We need to know that our manager, who has received a superb performance evaluation yesterday, will not be fired tomorrow.

    Leadership: If you want BH to have a more positive image start rounding. Start campaigning. BH is in such a state of disarray, that we need senior leadership out there. HR… Where are you? Why aren’t you doing anything about the fact that in the past six months, the ambulance and fire truck have pulled up to Spectrum Blvd at least three times. Dedicated and loyal employees are working all hours, all days of the week and for what. We are in the business of healthcare, we (healthcare workers) need to be taken care of by our leadership.

    About ten years ago, Broward Health was the premier destination healthcare facility to work in South Florida. Now it is such a joke, it is an embarrassment to admit employment here.
    Senior leadership, you must be more accountable. You are responsible for the success of the organization. You are responsible for the actions you either take or fail to take. If we continue down this road, and continue to make the same mistakes we’ve been doing, we are bound to fail

    If you have any empathy or care about how your employee population is currently feeling, do something about it. Time will tell and your actions will speak louder than words.

  • It is not only the employee’s of BH who are noticing this, as a physician I am appalled at the terrible way BHN is run run and the current reputation. Asking patients to come to BHN is not an easy task, before my patients would to come to the hospital now they are saying “Not there” So it is not just the staff and physicians it is also the community
    Alice Taylor is like the ice queen, cruel painful and woefully a poor CEO. the way everyone is treated is terrible, I mean everyone.
    The era of Broward Health as a leader in health care for our area has gone, I feel for many of the staff who have given so much for so long, to be treated and discarded as a disposable commodity.
    This is the wrong direction, Alice was not a good choice, change from the top down is always bad

  • As if it could not get any worse at BHN it just did, about 4 years ago Dr Parikh started a fight between another Doc in the car park. Police called no charges and wow he returned, wasn’t this a wake up call? He is rude to families rude to patients and that is an understatement, Then he is bragging about his sexual pursuits, other new doctors to the system are talking about drug deals with him on the patient care floors, we all thought were jokes, Then the news hits Tragic tragic tragic I mean tragic ……but one of our wonderful doctors is reported on the news, Cocaine, Alcohol, Marijuana, Fentanyl and what ever else, This is tragic , First we are lead by indicted administrative staff and now we have this hanging over us, what next
    It is is tragic for the poor girl who died my prayers are with her family
    And this other piece of scum didn’t tell anyone just continued

  • In Capasso World, Dr. Parikh will get a pay increase, new title, 30% bonus and option to give jobs to his friends.

  • I have some comments I would like to make, yes I am a physician, yes I am working at BHN and yes I am concerned at the current direction of this hospital! Old ideals old ideas and resistant attitudes with an old boy mentality is unhealthy for progressive safe patient care. It is the patients we are here for NOT feeding each other with massive consults and accepting poor care turning our back on sub standard medical care.
    Within the hospital there is an almost mafia like collection of old time physicians, they are outdated, mean and keeping this hospital from moving forward. An old boy network with a staff that have been here for so long they know no other ways and are thorns in the side of advancement. Quality and performance is punitive, I still can not believe the way I was talked to by a non physician regarding HCAPS, and I have said enough of that person.
    Unfortunately the administration at corporate are perceived by many as criminals, this further compounds the situation. Without a doubt the above physician was protected as so many of my colleagues are. Today I saw “Super Heroes ” in the lunch room, BHN needs more new blood more new physicians more new staff willing to make changes more super heroes. There needs to be a total change in this hospital to survive

  • Capasso’s friend Rodriguez a complete disaster

    BHMC is a sinking ship and as it sinks the rest will come down with it

  • We can never go back but 2 years ago BHMC was a thriving hospital, we had a great CEO Mark, a even greater CNO Robyn, fast forward and look at the mess we are in It is a very different place…………………. Morale is the lowest I have ever known

    Capasso you have really let us all down,

  • Th place is getting worse by the minute, back stabbing hostile work environment
    hostile physicians and then the c suite and upper administration!

    This really is one fuc ‘d up place

  • in 2009 I worked with Sylvia Rodriguez at Jackson now our new DIRECTOR of trauma and ED
    One real nasty person OMG
    She is here for a reason!! But just remember Sylvia you were fired from Jackson you were fired from Tenet everywhere you have been you have been fired

    You had me fired from Jackson

    Karma is a bitch and what comes around goes around Words of damnation are not good enough for you

  • Don’t worry be happy, Gino will fix everything.
    I have no doubt that with his vast experience he will get us ready for Joint Commission, satisfy all the Doctors, figure out how to clean the place with 30 fewer ftes and resist Heather’s flirtations as she tries to get the “job”
    As we all surrounded by more a more irritable people from Jackson. BECAUSE GOD KNOWS WE ALL WANT TO BE A PATIENT A JACKSON. NOT!

  • So today our OR Director was fired because The Joint Commission found an issue with sterilization. Are you kidding me? We have a patient safety policy endorsed by the joint commission that we focus on process and not people, so much for that policy, not worth the paper its written on, neither is Gino and Bev who decided to fire the OR Director. Bet we get someone from Jackson—Oh by the way, Jackson had the same issue.

  • I am very disgusted with this hospital. They are losing great people. Today they fired the OR director Nydia Gonzalez. I work at the hospital and I know how much work she put into making the OR 10x better. They are so corrupt and there are so many scandals right under their noses. I hope they all go down. This corporation needs to be shut down. So many great people are getting fired in a couple of mouths they will have nobody working for them. I AM DISGUSTED!!!!!!!

  • My experiences with BHMC are the worst

    The hospital and upper administration are a disgrace, indicted and having conspiracy charges against them they are able to decimate peoples lives in one swoop and yet people with criminal records are able to prevail and be payed millions

    I am beyond disgusted

  • The biggest patients are the staff at BH

    They need to be cared for …The current situation will take years to recover we started with a problem and now have a serious crisis…management take note

  • It is very sad to read these posts. BHMC was a special place in which everyone worked together to deliver great care to our community.
    Now- a place of fear, backstabbing and new leaders who don’t live in or care about this community.
    I do agree Sandra needed to go- but it would be better if Bev realized that in her quest to “move forward” she must admit and own the mistakes of her past. You can’t replace someone like Mark who was full of motivation and compassion with just anyone. The leader must be committed to the mission of this hospital and respected.

  • Right now it is an awful mess

    Capasso has lead us into a toxic work environment never seen at BHMC,
    if I made a million dollars with a 30% bonus coming I would not admit anything either

    Every morning and afternoon in huddles I am so fed up with the back stabbing wondering who is going to be fired and who will throw who under the bus The effect on moral is horrible

    I worked at HCA believe me that was a hostile environment, but it has nothing on what I am going through now

    Take note BH is in a bad place thank you Governor Scott Thank You Bev thank you Gino

  • Yet another great director is leaving BHMC

    Wishing her well

  • A word to management at BH,

    I am not paid well, I am not respected, and I am treated like a sub human by you all.

    Your company culture now stinks,

    I have first hand experience of this

    May I recommend you treat employees the way you want your customers treated…..maybe even better ……

    It was never like this

    I am sad and despondent

  • I work at Spectrum the District Headquarters. We all know Capasso’s car and she strolls in around 10 or 11 or is not at work at all. I know CEOs like her are to be out in the community but that is not the case. She is reported to be home or not feeling well or up late last night.

    Capasso needs to come to work like the rest of us. Maybe The Board and EAP should get her help for the reason she doesn’t come to work. Many of us have impaired coworker training. I think Capasso is impaired and needs to get help and come to work like the rest of us who make under 100k.

  • On May 30 Ray Berry will be sworn in as a Commissioner, he has coveted seat for years applying for a seat under Gov. Charlie Christ.
    He owns his own consulting business, knows Capasso and will be filled with conflicts of interest between his business and Broward Health—add to the scandal Berry.

    Also on the agenda, “contracting process for Sr. Executives,” it is sick how much time Capasso and Santoro place on their compensation and bonuses. Historically no executive had a contract with Broward Health except the President/CEO and General Counsel. Why the need to further burden the tax payer with severance and perk obligations?

    Broward Health’s market competition is HCA, Tenet and Holy Cross, there is no reason to pattern anything like Memorial or Jackson. They are not the competition. Pay the execs 200k like HCA and Tenet, not nearly 500K!

  • The Joint Commission did nothing except get a director fired
    more than sad for something that was a process/system issue

    Very little motivation compassion respect

    we need someone in here to get it back in shape and that reform starts at the top

  • There is no real refinement at the district, if the staff at the hospitals were like this lot our we have to endure each day HCAPS scores would be always red
    Alan has just has no personality, he is rude offensive and abusive It is no wonder Jackson let him go so quickly
    Capasso is equally as bad, my mother would wash out her mouth with soap and water she is highly offensive in her language which is truly blue, I would like to see her in the office at 7 or even 8 am
    And then the cast of thousands, no one knows who is who or does what…… massive confusion, try been on a call asking who the director or manager is for an area at the district …no one knows

    It is a mess a big mess believe me

  • Yesterday I witnessed a male staff member shouting and becoming abusive to a female as I was rounding on my patients, shame on me for not doing more, but this shows the direction of this hospital in a word hostile, I have much more to say but in my opinion the hospital is going down a path of no return, I am taking my patients to other hospitals
    Good luck Broward North Good luck

  • While I applaud the board of commissioners for reducing the tax costs for the broward county citizens, I have two questions: how do you justify all of these millions of dollars you authorize for payout to the indicted bh leaders? And 2, how do you not approve a bonus and merit increase for managers that haven’t received a raise in almost 4 years? Managers that put their heart and soul into their jobs taking care of the patients. After all, isn’t that why we are here? Lastly, the pto payout was time we earned .

  • Once again merit increase and bonus for managers agenda is “they couldn’t get to.”. Seriously? What a bunch of BS. Of course now they’re going to approve half a million to get help with the contract process even tho commissioner Klein knows and calls Lynn Barnett incompetent and doesn’t trust her. I would be fired in a second if I was described as that type of employee. It never ends…’s a joke. Managers are so pissed. Going on 4 years with not even a cost of living raise. What do you expect from us? We aced all of our 4 surveys this year from working our butts off. Can someone please stand up and do something for us? Fed up and not giving 150 percent anymore. I’m done!

  • Lynn – GC- is the paranoid person who controls the Board, and is The defacto CEO. She does this by playing the OIG and the IRO as the wizard behind the curtain. She is also able to do this because the BH charter was modified to allow General Counsel control over everything. The CEO has no control over the GC. Just compare that charter to the other public hospital charters. So everyone is scared into submission. She has never run a business let alone a legal department. Lynn hires outside legal counsel to prepare reports against people she doesn’t get along with or like. She doesn’t know industry norms and is not open to input. She gives advice, never in writing, and then backs out of her original guidance. Probably because Lynn does not know enough and is afraid to admit it. Nick is the green compliance chief and is her right hand that she controls and uses to intimidate others.
    Lynn has not a clue how many investigations are going on, or lawsuits, or document holds, or grievances, or public record requests; or what’s the subject of any of those conflicts.
    Broward Health is Lynn’s (who is paranoid) only hope, that’s why everyone else must go for no reason. Even the people who want to help her can’t. She gets along with no one. She does underhanded things. Everyone is thinking this but no one is saying it. Before new leadership can be installed, she must go. Having her in control is like having a rattler guard a baby.

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