The former CEO of MetroHealth who was recently fired has sued the board of directors, claiming it broke the law when it fired him and found a replacement.
Dr. Akram Boutros said in a lawsuit filed Monday in Cuyahoga County court that Cleveland-based MetroHealth’s board of directors violated open meeting laws when it “secretly hired” counsel to investigate him and then terminated him without mandatory public notice.
Dr. Boutros said in his complaint that Since MetroHealth is a public agency, it must follow Ohio’s Open Meetings Act and Ohio ethics law that requires public agencies to conduct all deliberations only in open meetings, charged Dr. Boutros said in his complaint.
When he learned the board was leading a search committee to find someone to replace him and did not follow the correct process, he alerted the board chair Vanessa Whiting. He believes she retaliated against him for alerting her that the board was not following the process because, “Within days after Dr. Boutros challenged her on these matters, Board Chair Whiting took it upon herself to begin questioning certain bonuses that Dr. Boutros had been receiving since 2018 along with hundreds of other MetroHealth executives and managers and which were approved by the Board.”
Dr. Boutros served as CEO of MetroHealth from 2013 until he was fired November 21. According to the lawsuit, he had announced last year that he was planning to retire at the end of 2022, and in February the board started searching for his replacement.
MetroHealth released records last week from the investigation involving Dr. Boutros. The investigation found that Boutros received supplemental bonus payments worth more than $1.9 million. The hospital said in the news release that it plans to release more details pertaining to the investigation later this week.
The hospital announced on September 22 it had hired Dr. Airica Steed as the new president and CEO and she will start on January 1.