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Catholic Hospital Scandal in Boston -- National Implications

Contact: R. T. Neary, Chairman, Coalition to Save Catholic Health, 508-359-4551, rtneary@verizon.net

MEDFIELD, Mass., March 26, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- A Grand Jury indictment of the former Chief Operating Officer of Boston's Steward Health Care LLC, is cited as one of the main reasons for a request to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for an independent investigation of the Steward hospital system, which was formed in 2010.

Jeffrey S. Putter was recruited in October of 2011 by Chief Executive Officer Ralph de la Torre, and Putter resigned abruptly "for personal reasons" in June of 2013.  The Florida indictment alleged "destruction, alteration and falsification of records" in his former position, and he could face 20 years in prison.  The charges have raised serious questions about Putter's activities at Steward, where he supervised their financial and accounting functions.

CEO de la Torre had served in the same capacity for the 6-hospital Roman Catholic Caritas Christi Healthcare System, and he negotiated a transfer of the Caritas assets to the newly-created for-profit Steward in November 2010.  The CEO had asserted that Caritas Christi was in serious financial difficulty. However, an Ernst and Young audit of FY 2010, after a long-delayed release to the public by Attorney General Martha Coakley, revealed that Caritas Christi was actually profitable, and there were many discrepancies in the previously-stated  figures. Glaring among them was a 97million dollar overage in their stated pension obligations. Coakley had consistently refused to recuse herself from oversight.

CEO de la Torre has very close ties to Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is now a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts.  Coakley's political ambitions highlight the conflict of interest in her position of overseeing the 6-hospital transfer.

With other major donors, Ralph de la Torre held a personal fundraiser for Coakley in his upscale Newton home.  An early public supporter of Obamacare, CEO de la Torre also hosted another fundraiser there with President Barack Obama being the featured guest.

"Justice Francis X. Spina has been asked to initiate a completely independent full investigation of the entire 830 million dollar Caritas Christi deal, and we trust he will.  Justice and public confidence call for it," said R. T. Neary, Chairman of the Coalition to Save Catholic Health Care.

"We are pursuing at both the Massachusetts and Federal level all the legal issues involved in the transfer" added Neary.