Suspended Broward Health chairman sues Gov. Rick Scott

David DiPietro says governor unlawfully suspended him, asks for job back

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The recently suspended chairman of Broward Health is denying allegations of wrongdoing and fighting back against Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

David DiPietro oversaw Broward Health, a public health district that operates five hospitals, including flagship Broward Health Medical Center, until he was suspended Friday. He spoke to Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman about the turmoil that led to his suspension.

"I have not done anything wrong and I haven't interfered with anyone," DiPietro told Norman.

DiPietro has filed a lawsuit against the governor, claiming that his former friend unlawfully suspended him.

"These are just trumped-up allegations that are just not true," DiPietro said.

Scott suspended DiPietro on the recommendation of Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel, who claimed that DiPietro was interfering in a state investigation into votes to remove acting Chief Executive Officer Kevin Fusco and to hire a law firm to assist Broward Health in its probe.

"When the inspector general says something like that, I'm going to take immediate action," Scott said.

But DiPietro said the law firm was hired only to make sure that the district operated above board and that Fusco was removed after complaints from staff.

"Employees of the district are feeling like they are going to be retaliated against by the general counsel and the CEO, and they feel like the place is going to sink, and they asked me to please take action," DiPietro said.

Scott's action was a surprise move, especially because DiPietro was responsible for uncovering the corruption. Last year, DiPietro recommended hiring private investigator Wayne Black to look into allegations of kickbacks, leading to an ongoing FBI criminal investigation.

"What's the response by the governor?" attorney Brian Silber asked. "To shut my client down, to get him out of office and stop that transparency."

DiPietro's lawsuit demands that he be reinstated as chairman.

"Every single public official in the state of Florida should be aware that what the governor did to me through an executive order, with no facts ... that they can be removed next," DiPietro said.

Board member Darryl Wright was also suspended. The board named Rocky Rodriguez as its new chairman.

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