The Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre has filed its response to a civil complaint which alleges it conspired with former Bermuda Premier Dr Ewart Brown on a scheme of “bribery and greed” to profit at the expense of Bermudians.
Lahey has argued the lawsuit is baseless and politically motivated, and it attempts to smear the name of Brown, 70, who was Premier between 2006 and 2010 while the now opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) was in power.
“The complaint attempts to transform a routine consulting arrangement between a hospital and a doctor into a fraudulent bribery scheme without providing any particulars of official acts by Dr Brown constituting the fraud,” Lahey said in its court filing.
In the lawsuit filed two months ago, the Bermuda government, through Attorney-General Trevor Moniz, alleged that Lahey and Brown’s scheme involved money laundering, mail fraud and corruption.
It accused Lahey of paying Brown with bribes disguised as consulting fees, with the former premier directing a huge share of the island’s healthcare business to Lahey, enabling it to make millions of dollars interpreting thousands of MRI and CT images.
In its reply, Lahey claims it is not unusual for hospitals to hire consultants to help them navigate and gain business in new markets.
Lahey spokesman Chris Murphy said: “We are committed to defending this frivolous lawsuit and will do so throughout every step of the legal process.
“Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre’s business practices and commitment to patients in Bermuda are beyond reproach and our business contracts and consulting agreements are fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.”
Brown, who is named in the suit as a “non-party co-conspirator”, has dismissed the allegations as politically and racially motivated.
Responding to the Lahey statement, Brown said on Friday: “I support Lahey in their effort to maintain their well-earned reputation as a first-class healthcare provider. I am confident that Lahey, and our relationship and our business, which have helped save the lives of countless Bermudians, will be vindicated in due course.
“It is unfortunate that their reputation should be questioned based on a politically motivated witch hunt in Bermuda, that has stretched to Boston.
“This baseless suit against Lahey is nothing more than a thinly veiled defamation of me and therefore diminution of my party and me in advance of the upcoming election. The US justice system should not become a pawn of the Attorney-General of Bermuda, nor his political party.”
The One Bermuda Alliance narrowly defeated the PLP in the 2012 general election, ending the party’s 14-year grip on power in the British Overseas Territory.
A fresh election is due later this year or by March next year at the latest.
- Countries: Bermuda