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More Details Released About SCH Secret Board Meeting
By Echo Menges
A series of secret closed meetings conducted by Scotland County Hospital District Board of Directors members is beginning to come into focus. The meetings were held on August 15, 16, and 18 and have been under scrutiny following the abrupt shuttering of the Memphis Community Pharmacy and hospital administration changes, which hospital representatives continue to be tight lipped about.
Public information about the closed meetings has begun to be turned over to the Memphis Democrat following a series of Missouri Sunshine Law requests, and another SCH board member has reported details about her experience behind-the-scenes of the release of the top hospital administrators, former Chief Executive Officer Dr. Randy Tobler and former Chief Financial Officer Michael Brandon.
Public Documents Give Basic Information About First Secret Meeting
According to the draft meeting minutes, which were turned over to the Memphis Democrat on Friday, September 2, the first secret closed meeting was held at the home of board president Lori Fulk beginning at 7:00 p.m. and ending at 9:56 p.m.
Four hospital board members were in attendance including Fulk, vice-chairman Joni Lloyd, board member Nic Hatfield, and board member Travis Trueblood. Also in attendance were SCH Co-Chief of Operations Officer Meagan Weber and Co-COO Brent Peirick, along with guest consultant Achim Hoyal.
Two remaining board members, Treasurer Bob Neese and Secretary Joe Doubet, previously told the Memphis Democrat they were unaware of the first secret meeting and were later told they were purposefully left out for their “protection”. The public minutes of the meeting do not further explain the reason for the exclusion of the two members.
The draft minutes state the meeting was held in closed session in accordance with sections 1, 3, and 13 of the Missouri Sunshine Law Chapter 610 of the Missouri Revised Statutes to discuss legal, personnel, and individually identifiable personal information respectively. Further details about the meeting were not made available in the public records of the meeting including any votes outside of going into and coming out of closed session.
Board Member Sheds Light Behind-the-Scenes of August 15 Secret Meeting
Vice-chair Joni Lloyd has stepped forward to give limited information about her account of the first secret meeting, which allegedly began with Lloyd being tricked into attending.
Lloyd told the Memphis Democrat she had no idea she was going to an official meeting of the hospital board that Monday night, August 15. It was only when she arrived she was made aware the secret official meeting was taking place.
“(Lori Fulk) asked if I had time to talk – if I could come over to her house,” said Joni Lloyd. “It was 7:09 (p.m.) when she called me. I checked the time of the call on my phone.”
Lloyd, who said she was already in her pajamas for the evening, then readied herself to visit Fulk’s home, which she guessed to be over 15 miles away.
“Nic Hatfield and Travis Trueblood were already there. I could tell they already knew and things were already said,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd corroborated that board members Bob Neese and Joe Doubet were left out of the meeting for their “protection” after having past involvement with the SCH Foundation and hospital pharmacy, and questions why she wasn’t also left out, along with Fulk, who are both currently serving on the SCH Foundation and pharmacy boards.
“A couple of sheets with numbers were shown to me,” said Lloyd, who admitted she didn’t understand what she was looking at. “I was told what they were saying.”
According to Lloyd, she felt threatened and intimidated by Achim Hoyal during the secret meeting, and she voted in line with the rest of the group without thinking it through – out of fear. She admitted to not knowing much about the rules that govern publicly elected boards.
“That Monday night was the first time I heard of any misappropriations,” said Lloyd, who did not further explain exactly what she heard about any SCH, pharmacy, or foundation financial discrepancies at the meeting.
Lloyd also said Hoyal presented the papers she looked at, and Hoyal explained any misappropriations to her.
“He has just shown up on the scene. The fifteenth was the first time I ever met him,” said Lloyd. “It was all coming from him.”
Lloyd reported being under a lot of stress since the first secret meeting was held. Lloyd said she became paranoid and she stopped listening to people she has considered trusted friends for years.
“I got to a point where I didn’t trust anything anyone was telling me, Bob Neese and Joe Doubet. I didn’t know what to think,” said Lloyd.
Another Board Member Turns Whistleblower
Lloyd reported she has filed an official complaint against the SCH board with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
On September 1, 2022, Joni Lloyd told the Memphis Democrat the following:
Over the last couple of weeks, many allegations have been made by Interim CEO Meagan Weber and Board of Directors Chairperson Lori Fulk regarding hospital bank accounts, the hospital pharmacy, the former CFO Michael Brandon, and CEO Dr. Randy Tobler to members of the hospital board.
To date, I have not been shown that any of these allegations are true.
Maybe it’s the overzealousness of Board Chairperson Fulk or the inexperience of Interim CEO Weber, or a combination of both. However, these unsubstantiated allegations have led to the loss of jobs of good people and the closing of the Memphis Community Pharmacy.
I, as a board member and vice-chairperson, am tired of the misinformation, untruths, threats, and intimidation that have continued to flow to the board. As such, I filed a complaint to the State Attorney General’s office on Monday, August 29.
The board members who serve this hospital give up their time, and in the last 16 days or more it has been a tremendous amount of time because we care about not only having a first class facility in our community but top quality professionals who care for each patient that comes through our doors.
More Public Information Available
The Memphis Democrat has received more public documents in response to Sunshine Law Requests. So far, SCH CEO Dr. Meagan Weber has turned over 11 public documents in response to five requests submitted by this reporter beginning on August 17.
The documents turned over include:
- May, June, and July regular session meeting minutes, and June special meeting minutes
- Public portions of draft minutes from three closed meetings held August 15, 16, and 18
- Draft minutes of the August 30 open session meeting
- Three other documents in relation Sunshine Law requests for information from the Memphis Democrat about communications to, and possible subpoenas from, the Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Missouri Attorney General’s Office and Missouri Auditor’s Office by SCH, board, hospital pharmacy and clinics
One of the documents is a letter to this reporter from Weber on SCH letterhead stating the following:
At this time, Scotland County Hospital’s Board of Directors, Pharmacy, Clinics and/or Administrators have not received a subpoena(s) from the Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Missouri State Auditor’s Office and/or Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
Two of the documents Weber turned over are copies of automatic reply messages from the OIG received on August 19, and MO Auditor’s office received on August 27 confirming self-reporting complaints had been filed with both offices online.
Weber reported the complaints were filed online and copies of the complaints were not returned to her making them unavailable for release.
More public documents are expected to be turned over in response to our requests.
All of the public documents we have obtained from SCH to date are included below.