Top officials on the Broward Health System’s board have been indicted on counts of violating Florida’s open government law.
Florida’s Sunshine Law, a series of laws put in place to guarantee the public's access to governmental records, includes an open meetings rule: Public boards have to conduct their business in public and notify people before they do.
But a grand jury doesn’t think officials at Broward Health followed that law in late 2016 when individual meetings were held by board members just before a vote to fire then interim CEO Pauline Grant.
The board’s chairman, Rocky Rodriguez, interim CEO Beverly Capasso and General Counsel Lynn Barrett, as well as two former board members, are charged with conspiracy to violate the public meetings law. They could each be fined up to $500 and serve up to 60 days in jail.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Barrett is also charged with solicitation to violate the public meetings law.
The governor is responsible for appointing the board members for Broward Health, also known as the North Broward Hospital District. The system serves the northern and central parts of the county by operating the public hospitals.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott, Lauren Schenone, said Wednesday, “We are reviewing it.”
The attorney for the North Broward Hospital District, Bob Butterworth, released a statement calling the charges “the most misguided prosecution we have ever seen.” He also referred to the Broward State Attorney’s Office: “This deeply flawed investigation was predetermined, biased and manipulated from the start.”