- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2007

Creditors of the company that owns Greater Southeast Community Hospital have reached a settlement over their claims about high executive salaries and use of a corporate jet prior to the health care system’s 2002 bankruptcy.

A trust representing creditors on Wednesday filed documents in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District saying they are finalizing a settlement with top executives of Doctors Community Healthcare Corp., recently renamed Envision Hospital Corp.

Terms of the bankruptcy settlement were not disclosed in the court filing, and an official familiar with the negotiations said the parties are likely bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Envision Board Chairman Paul Tuft could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Last week, D.C. Council member David A. Catania questioned Mr. Tuft about the company’s salaries and the $4 million that it spent on a corporate jet in the year before the business went bankrupt in 2002.

In legal filings, attorneys for Mr. Tuft and other executives have disputed making any improper expenditures.

“Taken together, the allegations are little more than a hindsight attempt to impose liability for good-faith business decisions made many years ago,” attorneys for the executives stated in pleadings in the case.

Greater Southeast has come under scrutiny over complaints in recent months about staffing shortages and purported difficulties paying some vendors.

Leila Abrar, spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Health, yesterday said hospital inspectors visited Greater Southeast several times this week amid reports that some physicians were not reporting to work because of trouble getting paid.

“The chief executive told us that he had enough physicians identified to cover in the event of a walkout,” Miss Abrar said.

Greater Southeast is the only full-service hospital east of the Anacostia River. Envision has been attempting to sell Greater Southeast for months.

In March, officials announced that CJ Healthcare Ventures LLC had entered into a tentative deal to buy Greater Southeast, with plans to close on the purchase in about three months.

CJ Healthcare Ventures is run by Carl Jones, who for years ran a paving company based in Prince George’s County. Envision recently sold Hadley Memorial Hospital in the District.

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