The hospital system board terminated Boutros in November, a month before he was set to retire, accusing him of improperly authorizing $1.9 million in bonuses for himself. Boutros claimed the firing was retaliation for his exposing of alleged board misconduct in the search for its new CEO.
The new lawsuit filed Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court outlines that incentive compensation program and the board’s violations of Ohio’s Open Meetings Act and board bylaws in its search for a new CEO, according to a news release from Boutros’ attorney Jason Bristol, of Cleveland-based law firm Cohen Rosenthal & Kramer LLP.
“In firing Dr. Boutros, the MetroHealth Board of Trustees acted in bad faith. They relied on an incomplete, unauthorized investigation and made decisions in secret, violating the public’s trust,” it reads. “The Board’s own bylaws, resolutions, and meeting minutes demonstrate that Dr. Boutros acted in accordance with the authority granted to him by the Board. The Board’s assertions to the contrary are knowingly false and are designed to destroy Dr. Boutros’ reputation while protecting their own.”
Bristol said public records maintained by MetroHealth show the board only regulated Boutros’ base salary, and that Boutros “never exceeded his authority” for approving those incentives along their board-approved guidelines.
Read the full news release below:
The complaint calls for damages on 10 counts including breach of contract, defamation, retaliation, intimidation and wrongful discharge, among others.
In a statement Thursday, MetroHealth officials called the lawsuit “another attempt to rewrite history.”
Once again, let’s be clear: Dr. Boutros was terminated because we learned he was paying himself almost $2 million in bonuses that had not been authorized by the MetroHealth Board. It’s that simple. To claim otherwise is to continue to smear the reputation of the very institution he claims to love and to undermine his successor.
We are moving on with a new CEO who is committed to making the communities and the patients we serve healthier. This lawsuit is just another distraction, and we look forward to getting back to our mission and focus on the community.
Newly appointed MetroHealth CEO Airica Steed came into the role this month.
Boutros’ first lawsuit, filed Nov. 28 in the county court, alleges MetroHealth board members violated the state’s Open Meetings Act six separate times during its investigation into Boutros’ alleged misuse of funds.
An amended complaint filed Thursday in that case removed board member Terry Monnolly as a defendant. Monnolly, in a Nov. 30 email provided to FOX 8, said he disagreed with the board’s decision to fire Boutros and announced his immediate resignation from the board.
“It is my belief that the board had authorized Dr. Boutros to take all actions that he took,” Monnolly wrote. “To terminate him, based on the belief that he would somehow take money from MetroHealth in the last month of his term, does not sit well with me.”
No court dates have been set in either case, records show.