Broward Health Continues To Ignore Sunshine Law






Broward Health General Counsel Lynn Barrett may know the law, but she is clueless when it comes to political optics.

Barrett is now stonewalling a state Attorney General’s opinion. She dismisses it as just “informal guidance.”

The Attorney General opined that the Broward Health Commission should not hold a closed-door meeting to discuss the burgeoning scandal enveloping the public health system.

But Barrett wants further clarity on the question of whether publicly discussing the issue will jeopardize a future investigation.

In an e-mail written after the Attorney General’s opinion, distributed inside Broward Health and obtained by, Barrett wrote:

“While we always comply with the Florida Sunshine laws, in this instance, due to the need to balance our public obligations with our responsibility to protect the integrity of any potential investigation that might occur with respect to Broward Health, we chose to seek further clarity regarding the applicable law.”

She is hanging her hat on a Florida law, which states, in part:

 ”It is unlawful for any person knowingly to publish, broadcast, disclose, divulge, or communicate to any other person, or knowingly to cause or permit to be published, broadcast, disclosed, divulged, or communicated to any other person, in any manner whatsoever, any testimony of a witness examined before the grand jury, or the content, gist, or import thereof, except when such testimony is or has been disclosed in a court proceeding.”

Its a smoke screen.  It would be easy to discuss the investigation without talking about the “testimony” of a witness.

(By the way, she appears to be admitting that there is a Grand Jury investigation of Broward Health by asking about this law.  Hmmmm.)

Could the real reason be that Barrett doesn’t want to air publicly the allegations that she obstructed a FBI investigation of the system?

Regardless, what Barrett and apparently none of the commissioners seem to understand is the appearance of all this legal folderol.

The notable exception Commission Chair David Di Pietro, who wants the meeting on the investigation in public.


David Di Pietro

David Di Pietro



I’ve got news for the commissioners and Barrett:

Private meetings look horrible.

It looks like commissioners are deliberately hiding wrongdoing.

What would you expect from a Commission, where representatives routinely snub the public. Commissioners routinely forget that they are a government agency, not some private entity.

Commissioner Darrell Wright arrogantly told Sun-Sentinel reporter David Fleshler last week “he had a policy of not speaking to reporters.”

As journalist Dan Christensen and I illustrated in the past few weeks on the website, Broward Health has routinely handed out millions of dollars in contracts during meetings held out of the Sunshine.

A no-bid contract of up to 25 years to a oncology firm connected to Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed the commissioners, is hidden from the public.   A $71 million no-bid contract for advertising to a big GOP contributor, Jordan Zimmerman, is discussed by commissioners at a private meeting.  

Commissioners deliberately and consistently exclude the very public who pays for Broward Health through property taxes from key meetings.

In my decades of covering government, I have never seen a major public body that has consistently and so openly thumbed its nose at the Sunshine Law.

My take:

If Broward Health wants to do all its business in back rooms, maybe its time to privatize the system and give up property taxes as a safety blanket.



11 Responses to “Broward Health Continues To Ignore Sunshine Law”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Lynn Barrett and the Board Members are not lighting fires with journalists like Messrs Christensen n Nevins but creating civil criminal n political landmines for themselves n perhaps ranking staff.
    Broward is too close to the Miami Media Market to achieve a coverup that has succeeded in less sophisdicated media markets in Florids

  2. Ira the alcoholic says:

    lynn, wtf? I’m not sure what Myla and Co. are telling you but you are in over your head on this. there is no legal basis to close a meeting to discuss an on-going criminal investigation or grand jury proceeding. your obligation is to advise the board of the law. make a record of what the law prohibits them from disscussing or disclosing and move on. winding Kevin up and passive aggressively sparring with the chair isn’t helping.

  3. Jack Moss says:

    Either privatize or have the South Broward Hospital District take it over. The NBHD has skated on the edge for 50 years, including loading the payroll up with a bunch of hacks.

  4. Frank Sullivan says:

    Look at the physician contracts, especially the one with Zachariah Zachariah, and watch Commissioner URE and his connections to UBS carefully.

  5. In The Know says:

    The fish rots from the head. Broward Health is no different and if you think Di Pietro is an angel, you are naive. Campaign contributions from Broward Health vendors for his wife’s campaign didn’t end up by accident. They must give or not get business, right. Everybody knows that Di Pietro is the strong man and he behind much of what is wrong. He is making nice now because he is scared that the FBI will catch on to his role. When you have so many oars in the water, David, one is bound to break off.

  6. An Observation says:

    Violations of the Sunshine Law are a criminal not civil matter. Advice of counsel isn’t necessarily a defense, especially with an AG opinion to the contrary.

    So any Commissioner that is foolish enough to proceed should be prosecuted by the State’s Attorney.

  7. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Lt Col Darrell Wright USA (Ret.) is assuredly brave patriotic and a good family man BUT he went to a third rate college in NJ and the level they decide between leaders and followers in the Army is whether to go from Lt Col to Colonel.
    I doubt a retired Lt Colonel would anything about law politics ethics in government such as the “Sunshine” Law or to be fair public relations.
    On what basis was a middling army retiree selected for such a powerful Public Body with such economic power?

  8. duh says:

    She is wrong. It has to be in public. Why should the hospital district be different than any other public body which pursuant to law must hold their meetings in public unless it is a shade meeting discussing litigation or labor negotiations? THAT IS THE POINT OF THE LAW.

  9. B Healthy says:

    lets not forget the advertising deal. Lamarka’s sister in law is a senior person at Zimmerman, Lamarka, the former generator salesman, now make deals for the company as a very high paid community affairs guy- really? and he is best friends with diPetro…to close for comfort…

  10. Kingmaker or the Emperor who has no clothes? says:

    is Lamarcs sister in law Terri Papp?

  11. Chaz Stevens, Satan's Buddy says:

    On a positive note, the Broward Health Board no longer offers a pre-meeting invocation.

    Satan rules bitches!

    You’re welcome.