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Local health center finances under investigation

Bond Community Health Center
Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 08, 2013
and last updated 2014-05-16 08:55:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Tax payer dollars are under the microscope. The leon county administrator is now trying to figure how the bond community health center is spending thousands of dollars. This comes after the center's board requested law enforcement to look into alleged financial irregularities.

"Anytime there's event the potential that county taxpayer dollars are involved in something like this, and in the audit discrepancies that we've heard about it gets our undivided attention,said Vince Long."

Vince Long, the Leon County Administrator said the county is taking a deeper look into the alleged financial irregularities at the bond community health center.

He said taxpayers contribute about $860,000 dollars annually.

"We recognize that they're an important part of the continuing of care in this community so we look forward to working with them," said Long.

Long said the members of the center's board have been cooperative. He sent a letter stating in part: "We appreciate your efforts to investigate these allegations, these issues and allegations give the county great concern regarding the stewardship of county funds."

But Alia Faraj a spokesperson for Bond said while they don't know exactly what the alleged financial irregularities are, they're on the fast track to find out.

"We share the county commission's concerns and truly what is most important is to continue to provide quality health care to the residents of the bond community and Leon County and to ensure that not a single dollar is wasted," said Faraj.

This is all happening after Junior Richards, the former CEO of Bond was released last September from the job.  They have not established a connection between Richards and the allegations. He was placed on leave May 2012 after being arrested on DUI charges before he was let go. The board is now actively searching for a new CEO, though they have an interim in place. In a letter released by the board they state in part: "We will not tolerate the actions of anyone who would abuse his or her position and break a sacred trust to the community we serve."

In the same letter they also state: "We intend to actively cooperate with any investigation if there are any gaps in our financial safeguards we seek expert advice on how to close them."

"We look forward to working with the forensic audit team  to get to the bottom of these alleged irregularities," said Faraj.

Meanwhile in a separate issue--the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration said they also contribute $1-million dollars to the center.

Representatives from the agency said Monday they are currently waiting to receive materials requested from Bond. They say they will not release any more funding until all information is received.

Faraj said they're working to get it to them.

The Leon County Administrator tells WTXL, he will present an action plan before the board of county commissioners Tuesday in regards to dealing with this issue.