MetroHealth announced Thursday evening that it will hire a firm to conduct an audit to investigate the circumstances that allowed former CEO Akram Boutros to collect $1.9 million in bonuses that the board and the law firm of Tucker Ellis said were unauthorized and in violation of his contract.
The findings of the audit will be released publicly, according to new MetroHealth President and CEO Dr. Airica Steed.
“Here are the main marching orders: Investigate how this happened and why it wasn’t discovered earlier,” said Steed in a release
. “We are determined to learn from this and put appropriate controls in place to help prevent anything similar from happening again.”
The MetroHealth Board of Trustees authorized the audit on Dec. 2, following Boutros’ termination for alleged self-awarded payments last month just weeks before he was set to retire.
Moving forward, CEO bonuses and incentive payments will be audited and made the subject of a separate board resolution, according to Chair of the Board of Trustees Vanessa Whiting. Additionally, she said, compensation consultants will independently verify details of CEO pay and benefits.
“We certainly will require compensation consultants to verify details of a CEO’s pay and benefits with HR in the future rather than relying on data provided by the CEO alone,” said J.B. Silvers, vice chair of the MetroHealth Board of Trustees in a statement. “If we were guilty of anything it was of being too trusting of the Chief Executive Officer, whose visionary leadership was pushing MetroHealth toward the greatness our community needs and deserves.”
In response to his termination, Boutros filed a lawsuit
against the MetroHealth Board of Trustees for violations of the Ohio Open Meetings Act. The suit came "in response to the wildly reckless, illegal, and damaging actions to the reputation of MetroHealth and Dr. Akram Boutros," said his lawyer at the time.
An attorney for Boutros didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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