Agency au­dit: $19M mis­spent

Re­port says ex-CEO used money for ben­e­fits, par­ties

The Detroit News - - Metro - Associated Press

Bat­tle Creek — The for­mer CEO of a Michi­gan com­mu­nity men­tal health agency who went to prison two years ago mis­spent more than $19 mil­lion on lav­ish ben­e­fits, par­ties and side projects, ac­cord­ing to an au­dit.

The Michi­gan De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices ex­am­ined records from the seven years Erv Brinker spent as CEO of Sum­mit Pointe Com­mu­nity Men­tal Health in Bat­tle Creek. Brinker was fired in 2015. He pleaded guilty to em­bez­zle­ment and Med­i­caid fraud in 2016 and was sen­tenced to more than 2.5 years in prison. He was re­leased last month.

The au­dit showed that Brinker’s pur­chases in­cluded more than $500,000 on psy­chic ser­vices, nearly $87,000 on travel, $65,000 in gifts and $830 on a bob­cat cos­tume, WWMT-TV re­ported . He also amended em­ployee ben­e­fit pack­ages with­out board ap­proval, the re­port found.

More than $1 mil­lion in Med­i­caid con­tracts were billed for ex­penses re­lated to snow re­moval, a skate park and a vir­tual school, the au­dit found. There was also more than $2.5 mil­lion in ex­pen­di­tures that weren’t sup­ported by re­ceipts or in­voices.

The re­port in­cludes a cor­rec­tive ac­tion plan, which in­cludes cor­rec­tive ac­tions that Sum­mit Point has al­ready taken and rec­om­men­da­tions for what the state can do to pre­vent sim­i­lar cases from hap­pen­ing.

State of­fi­cials have or­dered Sum­mit Pointe re­pay al­most $18 mil­lion, The Bat­tle Creek En­quirer re­ported . The men­tal health provider plans to ap­peal some of the find­ings.

Sum­mit Pointe’s new CEO, Jeannie Goodrich, said the re­port “rep­re­sents past prac­tices.” She said the work and ser­vices the agency has pro­vided since 2015 il­lus­trate their val­ues.

The state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice is re­view­ing the health de­part­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to a spokes­woman for the of­fice.

Brinker

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