After a five-month investigation, Florida state attorney R.J. Larizza determined that the Bert Fish Medical Center board did not intentionally violate the state's Sunshine Law when it agreed to merge with Adventist Health System after 21 meetings that were closed to the public, he announced Monday, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The seven members of the Southeast Volusia Hospital District board listened to their attorney's advice, Larizza said. "There are [Sunshine Law] exemptions unique to hospital boards--it's not cut and dried," he said.
Jon Kaney, an attorney with the Bert Fish Foundation, which is suing to kill the Adventist Health-Fish merger that occurred after a "do-over," was not impressed by the state attorney's decision. "We depend on that office to enforce the Sunshine Law," he said. "What I see is studied indifference [to the law]."
Jeff Feasel, president of Halifax Health--which wooed Bert Fish twice, and is siding with the foundation to void the merger--said Larizza's conclusion was "a slap in the face" to all public boards that follow the law. He wanted to know why the board chose the merger that will cost taxpayers in the Southeast Volusia Hospital District the most.
To learn more:
- read the Daytona Beach News-Journal article
Bert Fish opts for Adventist in do-over
HMA, Halifax Health woo Bert Fish...again
Hospital merger scratched due to 'Sunshine' violations