Embattled Broward Health Lawyer No Stranger To Controversy

The Broward Health attorney accused of blocking an FBI probe into corruption is no stranger to legal controversy. Earlier this month, the Florida Bulldog reported Lynn M. Barrett, Broward’s Health’s general counsel, “failed to cooperate with the FBI, withheld evidence and protected an executive accused of attempting to rape several employees.” The allegations came in an email from an investigator hired by Dr. Nabil El-Sanadi, the Broward Health CEO. In January, El-Sanadi committed suicide at his Lauderdale-By-The-Sea condominium.

According to the Florida Bulldog, private investigator Wayne Black alleged, “Barrett had shut him out of ‘various investigations’ and accused her of wrongfully asserting a claim of legal privilege to block law-enforcement access to a laptop used by an executive suspected of improprieties.”

Last week, Barrett created more trouble for Broward Health when she advised the hospital district’s commissioners to discuss the matter outside the presence of the public.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel blasted Barrett’s advice. The Editors wrote, “[W]e do not believe it is legal — let alone, appropriate — for this public board to prevent the public from hearing discussion of an email that alleges obstruction of justice.” Barrett convinced some board members that a public discussion would hinder the FBI investigation. Broward Health Chairman David Di Pietro blasted Barrett’s advice. The Sun-Sentinel reported, “DiPietro later said he wouldn’t participate in such a scheme.”

This is not the first time a controversy involving Lynn Barrett made the pages of the Sun-Sentinel.

In July 1987, Barrett claimed her boss was hindering her private practice. Her former boss was Broward State Attorney Mike Satz. According to the Sun-Sentinel story, Barrett, “accused [Satz] of blackballing her and hindering her new career as a defense attorney.” Barrett was upset that the State Attorney’s office would not accept a plea bargain agreement in a DUI case. It was Barrett’s first case in private practice.

“I’m embarrassed. I’m humiliated. My ability to earn a living in this county is being hampered,” Barrett told Judge Dale Ross. Barrett blamed Asst. State Attorney John Countryman for “abusive and unfair” treatment because “he simply dislikes her.”

Countryman denied all the allegations.

After less than a year in the State Attorney’s office, Barrett “resigned because she was ‘stressed out’ from handling a huge caseload.”

Barrett claimed the State Attorney handling the DUI case told her no plea deal would be offered if she was on the case. When asked if an offer would be extended if another attorney represented the client, Barrett claimed she was told yes.

After another lawyer was brought onto the case, the State Attorney’s office made the deal.

Published by Tom Lauder

Covering South Florida Politics Since 2010...As Seen On: POLITICO, The Huffington Post, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, WPLG LOCAL 10 (ABC MIAMI), The New Times

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3 Comments

  1. Wayne Black was not a stranger to controversy, either.

    http://www.prop1.org/legal/prisons/9111wack.htm

    TESTIMONY OF (WHISTLEBLOWER) SHERREE RICH BEFORE THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS 2226 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. November 4 & 5, 1991

    I accepted employment with the Wackenhut Corporation in August 1990, after applying and being interviewed at the Tampa office of the Wackenhut Corporation. Since I was interested in becoming an investigator I was referred to Wayne Black, of the Miami Special Investigations Division (hereinafter “SID). Several weeks after my initial interview I was contacted by Wayne Black for an interview. Wackenhut arranged to fly me to Miami for an interview at the SID offices. During that interview I advised Mr. Black that I was interested in becoming an investigator. He agreed to train me as an investigator. Because of recent undercover experience in my previous job, he requested that I begin work on an undercover operation that Wackenhut was conducting in the Washington, D.C. area.

    After completion of my background investigation I was hired, and went to Miami for final processing and preparation for the operation. The final preparation for leaving to conduct the activity was to get a large amount of cash for use in setting up the undercover office.

    Mr. Wayne Black and I flew up to Washington on or about August 11, 1990. On the flight to Washington, D.C., I was provided a number of articles to read about Exxon’s activities in Alaska, environmental issues about oil spills, and the Alaska pipeline from Alaska newspapers. We were joined later by Rick Lund and Vern Johnson. We checked into the Crystal City Marriott Hotel, where I stayed for approximately 4-5 weeks. All of my hotel expenses for were covered by Wackenhut.

    During the first few days after arriving in Virginia I was briefed on what my duties were to be in connection with the undercover operation. Initially I was told very little about what the real purpose of the investigation was. I was directed to open and set up and office, posing as “The Ecolit Group,” which I knew to be a false identity standing for “ecological litigation.” This included opening a personal bank account in my name, with ECOLIT on the check. I deposited several thousand dollars. It also included ordering cards with my name on the ECOLIT card identifying myself as a “staff researcher.” I also ordered cards for Wayne Black, identifying him as Dr. Wayne Jenkins. As part of my cover I also joined the Library of Congress as a researcher. I ordered the Anchorage Daily News as part of the cover so that the office looked legitimate. I also purchased several books about environmental issues and several environmental posters, such as “SAVE THE WHALES” and “SAVE THE EARTH” as props.

    The bogus office was located at 2341 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 525, in the Century Building, Arlington, Virginia. The office was in a suite of offices that shared common secretarial answering and reception services, and a common lobby. In order to appear legitimate I also received daily telephone calls from Miami, posing as if it was the Miami ECOLIT office, as well as faxes and occasional letters.

    At about the same time, Mr. Richard Lund, posing as Mr. John Fox, rented a suite in the same location called Overseas Trading Company. Although we were working together in this undercover operation, we pretended only to know Mr. Fox casually because he assisted in getting our computers. In fact, Mr. Rick Lund, and another gentleman named Vern Johnson, wired the offices with video and audio microphones and cameras for the purpose of recording all of the communications and transactions between Hamel and Black. This included putting in a video camera inside a portable stereo which was wired to Rick Lund’s office where it was picked up on a receiver and recorded. The sound system was also wired through the ceiling panels to the office two or three offices down the hallway. I was present when all the wiring was done in these offices.

    I was present during the time when Rick Lund and Vern Johnson wired Ecolit’s office in Arlington, Virginia. We arrived at the QRC offices (where we rented the Ecolit office) at night. Rick and Vern ran wires from John Fox’s office, International Overseas Trading, through the ceiling into the Ecolit office. Rick had attached the wires to a remote controlled, toy dune buggy. He used this vehicle to drive across the inside of the ceiling from his office, across the intervening office to the Ecolit office so he could get the wires to the Ecolit office. He ran the wire from the ceiling through a stanchion in the wall, cut a hole in the wall to bring the wire out and ran the wire under the carpet.

    Up until the opening of the office all I had been told was that we were conducting the investigation into a person named Charles Hamel. According to Wayne Black, Mr. Hamel had spent about ten years trying to seek revenge on Exxon for receiving a raw deal on oil brokering. Throughout the entire course of my involvement with the undercover operation, Exxon and Alyeska were used interchangeably by all of my superiors. I came to understand that Alyeska was a company formed by seven oil companies, and assumed that it was the Exxon portion of Alyeska that was requesting the investigation.

    As I became more familiar with the investigation I learned that Mr. Hamel was receiving documents and information, allegedly illegally, from sources within Alyeska. Wayne Black and Rick Lund told me that Hamel would receive Exxon and Alyeska information and then turn it over to Congressman Miller, and also get the Environmental Protection Agency involved, and that by doing so Hamel was causing Alyeska and Exxon a great deal of financial hardship and negative publicity. It was my understanding that the purpose of the investigation was to find out who the sources of information were and let Alyeska know who they were, so that they could handle the leaks. I believed that as soon as an employee was identified he or she would be terminated. In fact, I believe that one employee was identified and terminated during this time frame.

    It was my understanding that the investigation would last for six months to a year. In order to staff the office I was told to rent an apartment in Crystal City, Virginia. I did so; all of the expenses and costs for the apartment were paid by Wackenhut, including a rental car, gas, food, and utilities. The only thing I was responsible for was personal telephone calls and personal items. I was not aware of any State of Virginia or local authority license to conduct this activity.

    My job was to appear to be researching environmental causes in and around the Washington, D.C. area, and to convince Mr. Hamel of the legitimacy of the operation. Throughout the course of the investigation, when Wayne “Jenkins” Black received documents from Hamel, I was to scan those documents into a computer. I was responsible for paying all of the bills for the office.

    While the operation was going on someone from the Miami office drove up a Recreational Vehicle Camper fully equipped with living quarters and electronic surveillance equipment, such as portable telephones, two way radios, and other equipment that I did not recognize but understood to be used for picking up telephone calls. The RV was parked near Mr. Hamel’s condo and the park for one night.

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  2. nice piece but incomplete. what about her time at memorial in hollywood. or her time in private practice. or her time at jackson in miami. she is generally known in legal circles as a mediocre lawyer who bludgeons her clients, is called out for it, tries to play the gender card and moves on. it is hard enough being a woman in this industry without nuts like this.

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  3. swf, you forgot her time Tenet which in a word was: disastrous. I’ll give you a pass because your description of Lynn as a “a mediocre lawyer who bludgeons her clients, is called out for it, tries to play the gender card and moves on” is spot on.

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