Auditor brings whistle-blower suit against FL hospital district

The former internal audit director for a South Florida-based public-health system has filed a whistle-blower suit claiming that he was fired after challenging improper payments to its chief executive. David Richstone claims that he was terminated from his position with the North Broward Hospital District when he refused to end an investigation that found evidence of questionable payments to former CEO and President Alan Levine. Richstone alleges that he was asked to sweep improprieties "under the carpet," and when he refused, he was asked to resign. Richstone also declined an offer of six months of his salary, $92,714, in exchange for agreeing not to sue.

Richstone asserts that his firing violated the state's Whistle Blower Act, which forbids companies to take retaliatory action against employees for raising challenges to illegal behavior. In the suit, Richstone is asking for his job back, as well as back pay and benefits. He's also asking for compensatory damages.

Levine, for his part, contends that no audit of his expense reports was done until after he left his position. He admits that there were instances in which he shouldn't have received payments, such as a few instances of receiving payment for parking that had already been paid for by the district, but says they were mistakes. In fact, after reviewing the internal audits, Levine says he is owed as much as $20,000, which he says he does not intend to claim.

To learn more about the suit:
- read this Miami Herald article

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