Broward Health’s Latest Machinations: Unpaid Bills And Missing E-Mails





Eight months after Broward Health’s top executive committed suicide, the public health system is still unable to put the past behind.

The seven Broward Health commissioners are appointed to govern the billion dollar-plus public health agency. Yet flotsam and jetsam left from the administration of former Broward Health chief executive officer Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, who shot himself to death in January, continues to dominate Broward Health Commission business.

This month commissioners continued the fallout from El Sanadi’s death:

  • Commissioners stiffed a law firm out of a $200,000 legal bill. The firm was hired to represent commissioners during an investigation by Gov. Rick Scott’s Inspector General sparked by El Sanadi’s death.
  • Broward Health’s staff refused to turn over e-mails involving El Sanadi to Scott’s state investigators.

The El Sanadi e-mails were missing from reams of documents that Broward Health has turned over to the Inspector General.




Dr. Nabil El Sanadi


In addition to the e-mails involving El Sanadi, the state also wants to look at e-mails of Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca and those of former commission board chairman David Di Pietro. LaMarca was a vice president at Zimmerman Advertising when the firm received a no-bid $71.4 million deal from the commission led by Di Pietro, a close friend of LaMarca. The agreement with Zimmerman collapsed after El Sanadi’s death and media attention to how it was forged.

The state is investigating whether commissioners interfered with awarding contracts and El Sanadi’s administration of Broward Health.

Broward Health has been fibrillating since El Sanadi’s death, which almost immediately prompted Scott to order an investigation into the agency’s governance.

Roughly six weeks after the investigation began, Scott suspended Di Pietro and another commissioner for interfering with state investigators. Di Pietro won his seat back in Broward Circuit Court and then resigned before the state could appeal.

Before Di Pietro quit Broward Health, he engineered the hiring of the Mitchell Berger’s downtown Fort Lauderdale law firm. The firm was supposed to investigate many of the same governance issues that the governor’s inspector general was probing.

At one point Berger was accused by Tallahassee of trying to reign in the scope of the governor’s investigation. When the Berger firm issued its report, it appeared to clear Broward Health commissioners.

The report was ignored by Tallahassee, perhaps because Berger is a leading Democratic Party fundraiser and activist. The seven Broward Health commissioners are Republicans, appointed by Republican Gov. Scott.

Shortly after Di Pietro left the commission, the Berger firm was fired.



Mitchell Berger



The firm’s bill of roughly $200,000 remains unpaid and earlier this month, Berger told Politico that he was done “talking” with the commissioners concerning his bill.

Scott’s investigation remains uncompleted.

There is talk at the hospital system that the governor will use the investigation as an excuse to privatize the public health care agency. Such talk is just gossip at this point, but the governor has made no secret in the past of his preference for privately run health care.

The governance questions and the circus-like atmosphere at the commission aside, Broward Health faces other challenges.

Within a few years there will be increased competition from a new HCA Florida-run 200-bed hospital on the campus of Nova Southeastern University approved by the state in April.

An emergency room is already operating at the Davie site. Built around the ER will be a brand new hospital featuring what the university calls “state-of-the-art” technology.

Meanwhile Di Pietro has moved on after breaking with the governor and leaving Broward Health. He is currently working hard on his wife Broward County Judge Nina Di Pietro’s re-election. She is in a November runoff with former County Judge Ian Richards.



David Di Pietro

10 Responses to “Broward Health’s Latest Machinations: Unpaid Bills And Missing E-Mails”

  1. More Di Pietro Games says:

  2. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Usually it’s the state having to be sued for blatantly failing to comply with the Sunshine law by stonewalling public records requests!

    Voting for Ian Richards (again!)

  3. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Pardon my ignorance but arent the E-mails sent n received BY PUBLIC OFFICIALS ABOUT PUBLIC BUSINESS?

    Aren’t they PUBLIC RECORDS?

    Isn’t it a CRIME to destroy Public Records in the State of Florida? especially when they are requested by an official investigation?

  4. Just The Facts says:

    I read a few of your articles earlier this year about the mess at Broward Health. I never understood why Dipietro (a big republican) hired the titular head of the DNC (Mitchell Berger), but maybe he was trying to make it all about Lamarca? Seems strange, but maybe the friendship went south?
    The other thing that’s off is that you reported that Zimmerman “received a no-bid $71.4 million contract” but the only thing I could find was a one-year $1.9 million contract signed by Dr. Nabil Elsanadi and Doris Peek and Zimmerman. Was there another contract issued? Please post the contract.


    Actually the commission approved a $5 million contract, the first stage of the $71.4 million. Staff was negotiating the entire $71.1 million deal when El Sanadi died. Based on your comment, I have added a line that the deal was never finalized.

  5. Richard Callari says:

    The only sensible thing that we can do as residents of Broward County is to vote for Judge Ian Richards. Power leads to corruption in that husband and wife team

  6. Reading between the lines says:

    I read the Red Broward article and it seems interesting that the letter to Broward Health Commissioner Van Hoose from Di Pietro’s lawyer in his lawsuit against the Governor, attorney Bruce Green, Esq, occurred around the time when the Broward Health Board was discussing payment of the Berger bills.

    It is perceived that the remaining Board is split between a pro Di Pietro faction led by Maureen Canada and anti Di Pietro faction led by Rocky. Commissioner Van Hoose is seen as non committal to either faction and with Joel Gustufson recently off the Board, she could be the swing vote in approving the Berger bills.

    Knowing this, you have to wonder if the letter from Di Pietro’s attorney from the Broward Health lawsuit to Van Hoose had as much to do with her vote on the Berger bill then dealing with Red Broward.

  7. Oh says:

    Di Pietro must be shooting blanks.

    Di Pietro must get his wife pregnant immediately while he is a free man. Those dogs won’t cut it at all. He needs
    heirs to carry his name.

  8. Trump DiPietro 2016 says:

    Di Pietro is a big supporter of Trump and very much a bully as well.

    Broward Dems say no to Judge Nina DiPeitro in November

  9. Opps says:

    In my opinion, DDP made a strategic blunder when he hired (D)M. Berger and that sealed his fate with Gov. Scott.

  10. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Because of a well justified explosion at Fort Lauderdale City Hall over what informed officials believe is a deficient public relations contract I think public officials n THE PUBLIC should take a long HARD look at ALL tax payer funded ‘marketing contracts’ by ALL PUBLIC BODIES from hospital corporations to tourism groups to arts n museum institutions.
    Advertising FAILED to save department stores, magazines n newspapers, or American car makers starting with American Motors Studebaker Kaiser-Frasier or the American fur, hat, or dress shirt industries. Can it really do better for undesirable hospitals or poor neighborhoods?