By Associated Press - Monday, March 26, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina’s largest regional mental health agency has sued its former CEO to recover $1.7 million in severance pay.

News outlets report Cardinal Innovations sued former CEO Richard Topping on Monday, adding that they are also seeking to prevent him from collecting any further payments.

Last May, State Auditor Beth Wood ripped Cardinal for spending on CEO pay as well as on lavish Christmas parties and board retreats, charter flights for executives and “questionable” credit card purchases, including alcohol.

In October, an auditor for the Department of Health and Human Services released a 17-page report criticizing the severance packages Cardinal was offering Topping and his team. The next month, DHHS took over the agency, firing the board for approving a severance package of $3.8 million for Topping and other executives.

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