Tag Archives: Nabil El Sanadi

Mitchell Berger and Others Involved In Broward Health Legal Drama Keep Funding Judge Nina Di Pietro


The major players in the ongoing Broward Health legal drama continue to fund the re-election campaign of Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro. In March, her husband, former Broward Chairman David Di Pietro, was removed from his post by Governor Rick Scott after the Chief Inspector General claimed he was interfering in the Broward Health investigation. Last week, REDBROWARD revealed her husband’s legal team and the law firm he hired to oversee the State investigation into Broward Health contributed to her re-election campaign.

Two weeks ago, REDBROWARD exposed the close ties between Chip La Marca and Mitchell Berger. La Marca is a close friend of David and Nina Di Pietro.

BIG DEMOCRAT FUNDRAISER KEEPS FUNDING DI PIETRO

In March, the Broward Health board fired the Berger Singerman law firm after Florida Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel accused Berger Singerman of interfering with her review and recommended the suspensions of David Di Pietro, the former chairman, and Commissioner Darryl Wright. Gov. Scott suspended both men for “malfeasance” within hours of that recommendation on March 18.

In June, LaMarca co-hosted a political fundraiser with Mitch Berger  at his Berger Singerman firm for Fort Lauderdale Commission candidate Ben Sorenson. Chip LaMarca was the second name listed on the Sorenson invitation. Politcial insiders wonder why LaMarca, the former chairman of the Broward Republican Party is so chummy with a big Democrat fundraiser like Berger.

Earlier this month, Broward Health debated whether to pay $200,000 in legal fees to Berger Singerman. According to POLITICO, new chairman Rocky Rodriguez said it wasn’t the “right time” to discuss the bill, and said he needed to get some answers “here and there” regarding the fees.

In September 2015, months before he was hired by Broward Health, Mitchell Berger gave a $500 contribution to Republican appointee Nina Di Pietro. Last week, Mitchell Berger gave Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro another $500 contribution.

LEGAL DREAM TEAM AND YOUNG AT ART STILL GIVING BIG BUCKS TO JUDGE NINA

After being removed from his post, David Di Pietro sued Governor Rick Scott in Broward County Court. Members of Di Pietro’s legal “dream team” also supported Judge Nina. REDBROWARD reported Judge Nina received large contributions from lawyers Bruce Green, Brian Silber and Jay Spechler.  Like Berger Singerman, all three lawyers want Broward taxpayers to pay their hefty legal fees for representing David Di Pietro.

Judge Nina also received money from Spechler’s wife, Mindy Shrago, the controversial executive director of the Young At Art Children’s Museum in Davie. After the August 30th primary, Spechler and Shrago each gave Judge Nina another $1,000 contribution.

David Di Pietro is the current chairman of the Young At Art board.

Poor Taste: Judge Nina Di Pietro Uses Late Broward Health CEO In Campaign Promo

Judge Nina Di Pietro & the late Broward Health CEO Nabil El Sanadi from 2013


Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro is using an image of the late Broward Health CEO Dr. Nabil El Sanadi in a social media post promoting her re-election campaign. In a tasteless Facebook post, Judge Di Pietro posts a picture of the board with the caption, “Check out Judge Nina in 2013 at her first Board of Medicine meeting.” Di Pietro and El Sanadi served together on the Florida Board of Medicine. 

El Sanadi committed suicide in January. According to investigators, El Sanadi was under tremendous stress from controversial business practices at Broward Health. As CEO, El Sanadi worked closely with the Chairman of Broward Health, David Di Pietro, who is Judge Nina Di Pietro’s husband. Florida Governor Rick Scott removed David Di Pietro from the board after Florida Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel complained of interference by Di Pietro and fellow board member Darryl Wright. 

Published reports claim Federal and State investigators are delving into contracts between the hospital district and several vendors. One of the main targets is a multi-million dollar contract with Zimmerman Advertising. Witness interviews and emails show County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, then a Zimmerman employee, was a driving force behind the contract.

LaMarca is a close friend and adviser to Judge Nina Di Pietro and her husband David.

It’s unclear why Judge Nina would include El Sanadi in a campaign Facebook post, especially while the Broward Health investigations are ongoing.

On November 8, Broward voters will decide if they really want to keep Judge Nina on the bench.

Broward Health Investigator Is Dan Lewis’ Expert Witness In Foreclosure Case

The private investigator who conducted a mysterious probe into corruption at Broward Health is the expert witness for Democrat consultant Dan Lewis’ ongoing legal battle with a builder. On June 13, 2016 Lewis named Wayne Black as his expert witness in the foreclosure brought against him by American Builders and Contractors Supply Company, Inc. (ABC Supply). Earlier this year, Black made headlines following the suicide death of Broward Health CEO Nabil El Sanadi.

In February, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wayne Black had been hired by El Sanadi. “Broward Health CEO Nabil El Sanadi brought in a corporate private investigator to probe wrongdoing at the public hospital system, meeting with him in restaurants and at his home because he feared his office was bugged, the investigator alleges,” wrote the Sun-Sentinel. Black revealed his role in a letter sent after El Sanadi’s suicide. The Sun-Sentinel reported Black sent Broward Health legal counsel the letter just hours before El Sanadi’s funeral.

“Nabil and I met several times at his home or at a local restaurant to discuss my findings as he felt his office was bugged,” Black wrote in his email. “We used Nabil’s wife’s email to communicate most of the time because we didn’t know who would have access to sensitive emails.”

Broward Health was quick to question the veracity of Black’s claims. “Over the course of his work, Mr. Black failed to fulfill his obligations, acted unprofessionally and was belligerent to Broward Health personnel,” said the statement. “Mr. Black was asked to cease all services on behalf of Broward Health in early October.”

One month later, Black told the Sun-Sentinel his relationship with former Broward Health chair David Di Pietro helped open the door to his work at the hospital district. Black said he ran into Di Pietro at Macy’s in Fort Lauderdale.

“Black knew Di Pietro, a former prosecutor, having worked across the table from him on a case involving a private school teacher accused of misconduct. Black mentioned he had in the past worked with Broward Health to send its former chief financial officer to prison for embezzlement, and said he was available if anything else came up.”

Black said Di Pietro’s recommendation to El Sanadi got him the job. “This guy’s the real deal,” Di Pietro said. “He’s not just doing it for a job. He does it because he believes in the cause.”

LEWIS LAUNCHED HIS BROWARD HEALTH BLOG

As REDBROWARD reported in February, consultant Dan Lewis started an anti-Broward Health blog shortly after losing out on a million dollar contract with the hospital district.

Records show Dan Lewis purchased the BRWDHEALTH.com domain in February 2015. In March 2015, BrowardBeat.com confirmed Lewis was behind the blog. “The website is run by political strategist Dan Lewis. When Lewis takes his time and effort to establish a website, I pay attention. After roughly three decades in Broward politics building a wide range of political, business and community contacts, he is generally on target,” wrote Buddy Nevins of BrowardBeat.

Lewis purchased the domain name just two months after El-Sanadi was appointed as CEO at Broward Health. On March 17, 2015 Lewis explained his motivation for starting the blog. He claimed the poor treatment his daughter received in 2011 forced him into action. Lewis wrote, “[I]nstead of suing everyone for malpractice, which we would likely win – my daughter and I decided that instead, we would commit to try to fix the problem so future families would not have to endure what we had to at the hands of Broward Health.”

In April 2015, Lewis wrote about a cancelled meeting with El-Sanadi. Lewis said before El-Sanadi officially became CEO, he had promised to meet with him. “This promise was the result of four years of interaction between current and previous board members and senior staff on a number of initiatives with which there was both broad and strong support,” Lewis wrote. “I was worried that, with the transition to a new CEO, some – if not all, the momentum for these initiatives would be lost.”  Lewis said he wanted to “take the measure” of El-Sanadi and “look him in the eye.”

While El-Sanadi was under no obligation to meet with him, Lewis wrote, “I do have a 30+ year history of civic activism and governmental public policy advisory experience, and I am a current member of the Broward County Health Planning Council.  And they promised.”

According to his blog post, on January 29, 2015, Lewis emailed El-Sanadi to set up the meeting. El-Sanadi’s assistant replied, asking for the reason for the meeting. Lewis gave a long-winded response:

For reasons we can discuss, I have made a commitment to help make Broward Health the finest public health care system in the country.  Broward Health is a system with pockets of excellence and layers of incompetence.  To effectively meet the challenges of the organization, it must find bold and inventive strategies to grow its pockets of excellence and melt away its layers of incompetence. These strategies must be both internal and external to the organization and administrative and political in their nature.

My purpose, and intent in meeting with you is to afford both of us the opportunity to get to know each other in a frank and useful exchange of ideas.  This exchange will help me understand the extent with which I will be able to work with him to fulfill what I hope is a shared commitment for excellence.

On his agenda sent to El-Sanadi, Lewis listed the “Intensivist program” first.  REDBROWARD obtained emails showing Lewis’ interest in the intensivist program started in 2012. In August 2012, Lewis urged Broward Health to submit to a public “request for proposal (RFP)” process for the intensivist program. In an emailed copied to then CEO Frank Nask, Lewis wrote, “I must admit that I am very concerned that you appear to have discarded the notion of a public process or [RFP] for your intensivist program in favor of another private sweetheart physician contract. I cannot emphasize how strongly I oppose this course of action.”

In October 2012, Lewis emails Nask to confirm an RFP for the intensivist program will be issued.

The RFP was issued in January 2013.

In June 2013, Lewis emails Nask to advise him that Critical Care Physicians (CCP), LLC is filing an appeal of the RFP process.  One month later, Lewis emails Nask a “draft agreement” between CCP and Broward Health. Lewis’ language appears to suggest he is part of CCP.

“You should note that exhibit A clearly puts you or your designee in complete charge of the level and scope of service,” Lewis wrote. “Our part in that discussion is to advise you on all aspects of what the intensivist program can and should be for [Broward Health].

Lewis explains, “Finally, I would remind you that going into the ‘business plan’ evaluation phase, we were clinically ranked number 2 by the committee as a whole and number 1 by your administrative staff.” he ends with, “We stand ready at any time to discuss and resolve any questions or concerns you may have regarding the draft….”

An October 2013 email from Lewis to CEO Frank Nask reveals questions over fees, Lewis wrote, “We know that what we do here makes a difference to [Broward Health], our community, and our families and we do not take a back seat to any competitor for our clinical offering or for our understanding of [Broward Health]. Nor do we yield the ground financially. Our deal is the best one for [Broward Health].” Lewis claimed had “our intensivist program been in place,” his daughter’s care would have been better.

He wrote, “I simply can’t stress this enough, we are different from the rest because Broward Health is our hospital and we share and support your vision that Broward Health can be the finest public hospital system in the country….”

Lewis asks Nask to “meet the entire 8 member team that has been working for over 2 years to develop our intensivist program specifically for Broward Health.” He said, ” I need you to know that it is not just me with a passion for what is possible but that I stand on the shoulders [of] a remarkable group of highly motivated, highly professional and incredibly competent indiviudals.” The email does not reveal the identity of the eight members of Lewis’ team.

A June 9, 2014 from Lewis to Nask signals the conclusion of negotiations. Lewis wrote, “On behalf of Critical Care Physicians, LLC and further to our June 2nd conversation and your agreement, I am delighted to confirm we are fully prepared to commence and conclude contract discussions this week.” For the first time, Lewis signs the email as “Chairman, Critical Care Physicians, LLC.”

Despite stating he was the chairman of a group seeking millions of  taxpayer dollars from Broward Health, Dan Lewis continued to paint El-Sanadi as the bad guy. In an April 27 blog post, Lewis claimed El-Sanadi’s refusal to meet with him was “a remarkable  paranoia of organizational transparency in an email chain that is a troubling indicator of how Dr. El Sanadi ostensibly sees his new public responsibilities.” Lewis wrote the lawyer’s letter was “remarkable  paranoia of organizational transparency in an email chain that is a troubling indicator of how Dr. El Sanadi ostensibly sees his new public responsibilities.”

Lewis’ deal with Broward Health was never finalized.

LEWIS PRAISES INVESTIGATOR ON HIS BROWARD HEALTH BLOG

Dan Lewis repeatedly praised Wayne Black on his various blogs. In the April 13 post on The Dan Lewis Report he wrote, “well-known corruption investigator Mr. Wayne Black’s allegation of administrative obstruction.” On the same site, Lewis wrote, “More to the truth of the matter is that DiPietro facilitated and enabled Dr. El Sanadi’s unfounded paranoia by recommending the highly respected corruption investigator Mr. Wayne Black.”  Lewis even urged whistleblowers to contact Black.

You should not contact anyone at Broward Health until the Board adopts the federal whistleblower protections, a formal and very public policy against retaliatory employment and purchasing practices and there is an independent, secure and private method at Broward Health to make reports.  Until then, contact Wayne Black at 305-xxx-xxxx with confidence who will continue to investigate corruption at Broward Health.

WHAT IS THE LEWIS/BLACK RELATIONSHIP?

Lewis’ hiring of Wayne Black raises numerous questions. Why does Lewis need a private investigator and three lawyers for a foreclosure case? While Lewis may call Black “highly respected,” CBS NEWS 60 Minutes demonstrated Black’s skill set and pay grade is above a Broward foreclosure case.

Even though Black investigated the death of Princess Diana and the Tiffany Sessions missing person case, he gained real notoriety for his work on an Alaskan oil pipeline case.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, for G4S Secure Solutions “special investigations chief” Wayne Black targeted Charles Hamel, an oil broker suspected of  passing information to the government and the media regarding about pollution.

“[Black] set up an elaborate ruse to entice Hamel into divulging his sources, establishing a phony environmental group, pretending to be a scientist and secretly recording Hamel’s conversations.” the newspaper reported.

Confronted on camera by Steve Kroft of CBS’s 60 Minutes, Black said, “I think we did a–did a good job.” according to a transcript.

Kroft responded, “You’re proud of going through somebody’s garbage? You’re proud of surreptitiously recording conversations? You’re proud of setting up phony companies and giving people a lot of bogus information?”

Did Wayne Black work for Dan Lewis before June 2016? Has Wayne Black done political work for Dan Lewis or his companies? An issue in the current foreclosure case focuses on payments to Lewis’ main lawyer Colleen O’ Loughlin. Lawyers for ABC Supply, Inc. presented checks written by Lewis’ Star, Inc. to O’Loughlin for legal matters. O’Loughlin has represented Star, Inc in the Florida Elections Commission case and her name is on the paperwork for Lewis’ Florida’s Democracy Project, the group behind Lewis’ “fake” endorsement card.

Did Wayne Black ever work for Star, Inc. or JNAC Management and Solutions? Did Lewis know about Black’s Broward Health investigation before it became public after El Sanadi’s death?