In 1996, VCU Health, the downtown medical campus of the university, was created with authority to act on its own without legal supervision of the State Attorney General. The organization hired its own lawyer, (general counsel) and had their own Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board is the President of the University, including two members of the Virginia State Legislature.
We have seen what this has led to, with the former VCU Health CEO, Dr. Art Kellermann, decrying the recent debacle involving the Public Safety Building as a bad deal. He was forced to sign the contract, nonetheless, and presumptively in part to his perspective, was subsequently fired, by President Rao, who also serves as Chairman of the Health Board. Their general counsel “lawyer,” also resigned.
This led to VCU being on the hook for $80-$100 million dollars in exchange for NOTHING.
There is no other hospital in Virginia that could have done this without the legal advice of the Attorney General, elected by the people. It is incumbent upon the Governor, the Attorney General and the General Assembly to address this anomaly immediately with corrective legislation.
Failure to so do raises dire concerns. I raised these concerns on Friday as a guest of the WRVA, the Jeff Katz radio show, and I invite you to listen.
For Rao to throw away $100 million dollars of taxpayer dollars, have a 150% turnover in Black faculty, and increased faculty layoffs with calls for students tuition increases with NO explanation to the people is unacceptable.
For the Board of Visitors to permit this raises unanswered questions cited by Rao’s own investigative law firm, which was hired as a third party to review the project. The report stated, “there was little analysis whether to continue with the project during negotiations, conflicts of interest, lack of relevant expertise, including financial expertise,” among other scathing comments.
I encourage you to view the complete report.
As I stated on the show, these issues “are on the ballot” – THE PEOPLE will be heard.