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Former CEO accuses MetroHealth Board of Trustees of damaging his reputation, files lawsuit

Posted at 10:08 PM, Nov 28, 2022

CLEVELAND — On Nov. 21, Dr. Akram Boutros was terminated from his position as the President and CEO of MetroHealth by the Board of Trustees after Boutros allegedly authorized $1.9 million in supplemental bonuses to himself without disclosure or authorization from the board.

According to a statement from Boutros' attorneys, Cohen, Rosenthal and Kramer LLP, Boutros has filed a lawsuit against the MetroHealth Board of Trustees in the Court of Common Pleas in response to actions his attorneys call "wildly reckless, illegal, and damaging" to his reputation.

The statement reads as follows:

Dr. Akram Boutros has filed a lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas detailing multiple violations of Ohio’s Open Meetings Act and the MetroHealth System Board of Trustees Bylaws by the MetroHealth Board and its Chair, Vanessa L. Whiting. The suit is the result of an investigation that clearly demonstrates the wanton disregard for Ohio’s Open Meetings Act and the Board Bylaws by its Board and Chair Vanessa Whiting in both the hiring process for the health system’s new CEO and the so-called investigation of Dr. Boutros’ compensation. The lawsuit requests declaratory and injunctive relief to void the actions taken by the Board in violation of the statute and to require the Board to comply with its requirements in the future. Specifically, we are asking the Court to nullify the unlawful investigation of Dr. Boutros and to nullify Dr. Boutros’ termination for cause as The MetroHealth System’s President and Chief Executive Officer. The lawsuit further sheds light on how Chair Vanessa Whiting and the Board retaliated against Dr. Boutros and used the investigation into Dr. Boutros’ compensation as a weapon to damage Dr. Boutros' reputation and provide cover for the Board’s pattern of violating Ohio’s Sunshine Laws. The defendants have taken these actions without concern for the impact on the institution, the employees of MetroHealth or its patients.

The Chair of The MetroHealth System, Vanessa Whiting released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

“We’re disappointed, though not surprised, that Dr. Boutros has filed a lawsuit. His allegations are little more than a distraction from these fundamental facts: That he awarded himself nearly $2 million in bonuses without proper review or authorization and that he concealed those payments from MetroHealth’s trustees and the public.
“We are confident the board acted in accord with Ohio law, but no one should lose sight of the irony that someone who for five years actively cloaked his actions is trying now to recast himself as a champion of sunshine.
“We will file our response in due time, but urge everyone to read the Tucker Ellis report [] that resulted from the investigation we launched into Dr. Boutros’ actions. It speaks for itself.”We have no further comment at this time.

Boutros planned to retire at the end of the year.

RELATED: MetroHealth board fires CEO, alleging he authorized $1.9 million in bonuses to himself

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