By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Big money flows both ways between Gov. Rick Scott and entrepreneurial radiation oncologist Dr. Daniel Dosoretz.
Back in January 2012, Scott was an investor in the private equity firm that owned 21st Century Oncology, the high-flying cancer-care company Dosoretz founded and ran until shortly before it crash-landed last year in federal bankruptcy court after paying millions to settle allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. (21st Century emerged from bankruptcy protection in February 2018 with a new leadership team.)
Also in January 2012, Scott appointees on the board of taxpayer-supported Broward Health voted to award Fort Myers-based 21st Century an unprecedented, 25-year no-bid contract to supply millions of dollars in radiation oncology services to the hospital district’s patients.
It wasn’t long before 21st Century began contributing big to Scott’s re-election campaign. Between May 2012 and January 2014, 21st Century contributed more than $360,000 to the governor’s Let’s Get to Work Political Action Committee. A few months later, Gov. Scott held a press conference at 21st Century’s headquarters. After Scott won re-election, 21st Century gave an additional $30,000 to Scott’s PAC, for a total of $390,000, state records show.
Fast forward to June 2017. Gov. Scott signs a state budget that includes a $733,660 non-recurring grant for DNA Comprehensive Therapy Services LLC, a Fort Myers for-profit founded in 2013 by Dosoretz’s daughter, Elizabeth Dosoretz, and her husband, Jason Moon. The company provides mental health treatment to adults and children under the name Elite DNA Therapy Services.
To help secure that money, Elite DNA hired Scott’s longtime friend, lobbyist William “Billy” Rubin, of Fort Lauderdale. Elite DNA paid Rubin, whose clients have included 21st Century, between $20,000 and $30,000 last year, records show.
Another non-recurring state grant
Buried in this year’s state budget, signed in March by Republican Scott, was yet another non-recurring grant of $733,660 to Elite DNA – bringing the total award from the state’s general revenue fund to $1.47 million. Scott had recommended the expenditure to the Legislature.
One month later, Dr. Dosoretz began to give back. Last April 18, Dosoretz contributed $10,800 to Rick Scott for Florida, the governor’s principal campaign committee in his race to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson. His wife, Celia Dosoretz, gave $5,400 a week later.
On May 8, 2018, two limited liability companies that list Dr. Dosoretz as managing member – Theriac Management Associates and TEM – sent a total of $70,000 to Scott’s “independent” New Republican Super PAC. Unlike a candidate’s campaign, Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions and individuals, but by law may not contribute to or coordinate directly with candidates or parties.
In August, Florida Bulldog reported that Scott’s administration also paid $200,000 in job-creation tax incentives to a management services subsidiary of 21st Century Oncology while the governor had his personal financial interest in the company.
Those incentives were approved by the state three days after Scott’s election in November 2010, while then fellow-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist was still in office. Two years later, at the company’s urging, Gov. Scott’s Department of Economic Opportunity amended the incentives agreement to make it more favorable to 21st Century.
Scott’s financial interest in 21st Century was via his “blind trust,” which had invested $210,000 in Vestar Capital Partners, the private equity firm that owned about two-thirds of its stock. The trustee of the blind trust was a company run by Scott crony Alan Bazaar.
Corruption allegations at Broward Health
Dosoretz and Gov. Scott also figured prominently in a politically stunning whistleblower lawsuit involving allegations of corruption surrounding Broward Health’s no-bid 25-year contract with 21st Century Oncology.
The False Claims Act suit was brought against 21st Century by former Broward Health board chairman David Di Pietro, claiming that the company paid kickbacks to secure that “extraordinary contract.” Those kickbacks allegedly included offers by 21st Century lobbyist Rubin to then-Broward Health CEO Frank Nask of financial security and the governor’s political protection. Nask, in turn, allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars as “hush money” to grease the deal by buying out the existing contract holder.
Dr. Nabil El Sanadi succeeded Nask as CEO in December 2014. According to the complaint, Rubin held a Jan. 19, 2015 meeting with El Sanadi, Di Pietro, lobbyist Jim Eaton and 21st Century boss Dosoretz.
At the gathering, Dosoretz “bragged” about his “close friendship with Governor Scott” and urged El Sanadi “to give more business to 21st Century,” the complaint says. Specifically, Dosoretz allegedly asked El Sanadi to arrange for Broward Health to circumvent eligibility rules of a government drug discount program for hospitals and buy the chemotherapy drugs used by his company to “save 21st Century monies on those drugs.”
Di Pietro, who operates his own Fort Lauderdale law firm, contends that Rubin continued to meet with El Sanadi “on a weekly basis” until El Sanadi killed himself on Jan. 23, 2016.
The complaint blames the corrupt 21st Century deal for leading to losses of more than $30 million between 2011 and 2016 for taxpayer-supported Broward Health. “Over the course of the potential 25-year term of the contract, Broward Health is on track to lose over $125 million.” The suit said potential billings by 21st Century during the 25-year term “will exceed $800 million.”
But Di Pietro’s allegations, filed in 2016, will likely never be tested in court.
The case was put on hold last year after 21st Century filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York. Di Pietro filed an adversary complaint in bankruptcy court seeking a ruling that his whistleblower claim was not a dischargeable debt that 21st Century could sidestep. He lost.
Last week, Di Pietro filed court papers in federal court in Fort Lauderdale voluntarily agreeing to dismiss his whistleblower complaint.
Barrett is Rubin's, Dosoretz's and Scoot's Girl / October 16, 2018 5:52 am
The General Counsel for Broward Health Lynn Barrett was hired at the direction of Scott surrogates. She confiscated all documents within Broward Health related to 21 century.
Barrett conspired with Capasso to fire Grant because Grant wouldn’t play the games. Now Capasso is quitting because she can’t face her own team who can’t get anything done because of Barrett.
Capasso and Barrett need to go!
KJ McKinley / October 16, 2018 10:54 am
Very informative. Thank you.
William Windsor / October 16, 2018 11:19 am
Dr. Dosoretz is just one of the poisonous SNAKES with whom Governor Scott has been dealing with his entire life. What about all the other highly corrupt Businessmen around Florida, including Mr. Pepe Fanjul and Mr. Alfonso Fanjul, of Florida Crystals, who are seriously polluting the Water Environment causing Red Tide all over the place.
When is the Federal Government going to get off their butts and prosecute this A__HO__ CRIMINAL, Rick Scott? This MORON needs to be sent to a Federal Penitentiary “On the Double”, as they say.
Please don’t forget to vote for Senator Bill Nelson for the US Senate. Thank you.
Former NBHD employee / October 16, 2018 10:03 pm
A lot of political appointees have come and gone at the North Broward Hospital District. When DiPietro joined the Board, things Broward Health changed for the better. He really tired to help the community and all the employees. It was only a matter of time before the political elite would try to take him down. He’s a fighter and fought one hell of a battle. He fought even when all the odds were against him. All of us at the staff level loved David.
Jackson Rip Holmes / October 16, 2018 11:27 pm
Good worlk. Brazen misconduct by Scott.
Lewis Hide / October 17, 2018 9:11 am
Interesting Piece. Interested to know how many children with Autism did the $1.4m that was given to Elizabeth’s company help??? These families who aren’t entitled to services otherwise because they are either uninsured or aren’t able to find a provider who can help them. Maybe you should report on the full story and not leave out key facts. Why don’t you ask the families that have benefited from these services if they care how this was funded, or who gave what to who? All they care about is that their child is now getting the services they deserve.
rDavenport / October 18, 2018 7:23 pm
Another Rick Scott story hot off the press…
xrt / October 18, 2018 10:31 pm
The construction of the radiation department at broward health probably valued at 15 million. Service contract on the machines and software easily 500k+ yearly . Salaries for large staff over 1 million yearly
The contract handed everything over to 21C free of charge and they are allowed to collect all the technical fees, and bill the pts and insurers. Of course broward health still has to pay salaries, service contracts etc. But it gets even better. Broward health throws in 500,000 million dollar a year bonus. If an indigent patient comes into the department, broward health pays 21C thousands of dollars per pt, even though broward health is staffing the department and paying/mantaining the equipment.
Bhnmanager / October 19, 2018 3:45 am
The staff at Broward Health yet again hit very hard with another corruption scandal This time its radiology
The last 4 years have been some of the worst imaginable
Please remember while we have criminals running the district corrupt physicians who’s bottom line is control of management to their benefit NOTthe district’s and we have bleed very good managers and CEO’s due to Capasso’s blatant incompetence The people at the bedside still provide exceptional care we did not make these decisions, While administration still make us sign off and be responsible to report off each month legal jargon that will incriminate us one day and be responsible for the ever difficult contracts
Broward Health post Pauline grant is a terrible terrible place to work
Tellthetruth / October 19, 2018 3:52 am
don’t tell me the highly paid managers and directors of BH RADIOLOGY departments knew nothing of this
RickyBobby / October 23, 2018 3:24 pm
Dear TelltheTruth, and BHN Manager, WTF, obviously you two ignorant Asswipes don’t know the difference between the Radiology Department and the Radiation Oncology Department. How in the name of sweet Jesus can both of y’all claim any knowledge of this with y’all’s heads up your ass. Wake up or Shut up. Stupid is as Stupid does. Sometimes innocent people( Radiology) get hurt when y’all run your mouths without engaging your brains. Thank you very much.
BHemployee / October 30, 2018 7:24 pm
I just read the sun sentinel article about Broward health top lawyer may lose job! I applaud Commissioner Klein. Lynn needs to go and you will make a lot of BH employees happy not to mention it’s the right thing to do. She is toxic and has destroyed BH. How does she sleep at night? She should have to pay back every dime she spent on her lawyer friends; and for what reason? Clinical staff are busting their butts taking care of patients and we continue being told there’s no money in the budget for additional staff. What is wrong with this picture? Commissioners, do the right thing……terminate her now!!!!!
BHN / November 28, 2018 8:31 am
Additional staff is just a part of it, at BHN we have continuous lack of supplies due to non payment of bills impacting patient care. the CNO continues to be inappropriate in her management skills and her passive aggressive behavior, degrading not only other managers but also several of the C suite. We are also experiencing a group of trauma physicians around for 25 years replaced by the CEO’s friend And we think corruption has gone from Broward Health?
Tom / June 1, 2019 6:55 pm
I work in the radiology Dept in the district. The budgets are different among the 4 sister hospitals. I feel the radiology department employees have taken the biggest hit when it comes to loosing hours. If our protocols are the same how can this stand? The radiology department has flexed like none other, some of us having over 400 hours of PL have depleted all of it due to flexing within 2-3 years. And for those who take it unpaid, I don’t know how they survive in this economy.
We look at the financial reports, we are budgeted to loose call it 5 million dollars and we only loose maybe 3 million, which is great, but with all the flexing that is going on, alot of staff in the radiology department are jumping ship and going to other healthcare systems after getting some experience just so they can not only get better pay, but also better hours. This new guy Gino has budgeted call hours with regular scheduled hours, making us loose our much earned overtime when taking call. This district needs to get their shit together, stop retaliation, and treat the employees with dignity and respect.
No idea how this comment is related but needed to vent