In Her Own Words
North Lake Hospital Taxing
District Board Member
In Tuesday’s Right Side of the Lake, we promised to detail the conspiracy between North Lake Hospital District Board Member Marilyn Bainter and Florida State Representative Larry Metz. They are conspiring to destroy the district that funds healthcare for the poor and indigent of Lake County. We will show, in Marilyn Bainter’s own words, how she and Metz have orchestrated an attack on Lake County’s hospitals. If they are successful, they will deprive people truly in need of healthcare, reduce the quality of healthcare in our County, slash jobs in the medical field, and possibly lead to the selling or downsizing of Lake County’s hospital system. Never before have two people put so much effort into hurting so many people.
Here is a brief recap. The district assesses a 1-mil ad valorem tax for poor and indigent healthcare in Lake County. This equates to literally pennies a day for most homeowners, but for the local cash-strapped hospitals, it is worth $11 million. This tax has been around for forty years and the amount collected does not come anywhere close to the real cost hospitals are paying for indigent care. This cost has increased dramatically due to more people being unemployed and without insurance. Like hospitals across the nation, Lake County’s hospitals are suffering tremendously as they deal with reduced funding and increased indigent care.
During the last legislative session, Rep. Metz successfully enlisted the help of Governor Rick Scott to aid in the mission to destroy the hospital district and weaken the hospitals. Bear in mind that Governor Scott made his millions taking over hospitals like Leesburg Regional Medical Center and Florida Waterman Hospital. Through their efforts, they passed a bill to dismantle the current district. The measure is up for a vote in 2016, as even those who supported the bill said time was needed to prevent financial shock to Lake County’s healthcare system—don’t forget we are in an economic recession/depression. However, the hospital district could actually be defunded now, even before the citizens get a chance to vote, as it gives the district’s board members the immediate authority to eliminate the funding
That victory is not good enough for Marilyn Bainter. She wants to speed up the process, so she filed another lawsuit similar to the one she filed in 2010. The first lawsuit cost the hospitals and district board upwards to $600,000, and it was money squandered during a time when it was sorely needed for healthcare. We think another part of her motivation, other than trying to stay in the news, is her desire to get her attorney’s fees reimbursed.
To prove that Representative Larry Metz and Board Member Marilyn Bainter have conspired to take down Lake County’s hospitals, we will present Bainter’s own words, which were obtained through a Florida Sunshine law public records request. After reading what they said, we feel you will agree with us—this was an orchestrated attempt by Metz, Bainter, and some mystery group. Folks, its time for sunshine— time to find out who all the players on the other side are.
The following is a summary of what was said in contacts between Rep. Larry Metz and Marilyn Bainter, as documented by Bainter.
Bainter - “I served as a volunteer on his campaign in 2010.”
Our response: This is why our group contends this is political payback for Bainter and her group. In the private sector, such quid-pro-quo buying of a house bill would be subjected to an ethics violation, especially given her personal lawsuit against the district.
Bainter – “On 1-19-2010 I met Lance, Rep. Metz aide, to provide material from the district lawsuit to copy.”
Our Response: Larry Metz was not elected to House District 25 until November 2, 2010 and according to Bainter’s own words, she met with him some 10 months earlier to provide material about her lawsuit. He has been fully involved in the lawsuit from the beginning—he probably should have joined her in the suit.
Bainter – “I attended a fundraiser for Rep. Metz, as a campaign volunteer on 9-29-2011.”
Our Response: Seven months ago, Bainter freely admits helping Metz financially and on the website “Project Vote Smart”, Marilyn Bainter is listed as a Top Contributor with a donation of $550. Follow the money and you will find the truth.
Bainter – “I attended a group (10 to 12 persons) session in Rep. Metz office on 10-25-2011 to receive briefing on his health care bill.”
Our Response: Okay, that was six months ago—who are the 10-12 people? It is time to publically name the people who are a part of this mysterious group that is trying to shut down Lake County’s hospital system.
Bainter: “I have provided 3 copies of emails sent to Rep. Metz that I never received an answer to, nor expected to in two cases.”
Our Response: This gets very dicey for Bainter because we have uncovered discrepancies in email communications between Metz and Bainter. We plan to expose this later.
The following are two emails provided to us by Bainter-
September 2, 2011 email from Bainter to Metz – “Here it is, Friday the 2nd of September, with a meeting coming up on Wednesday the 7th, and we have no agenda or minutes. What do you think is going on in this taxing agency? (Bainter attached a memo for District Board Members)
October 31, 2011 email from Bainter to Metz – “Can you believe this?” (Bainter attaches an email and document that details refinements to current legislation from North Lake Hospital District Board Chairman Carpenter)
Our Response: These emails demonstrate that Metz and Bainter were in cahoots to undermine the North Lake Hospital District. Her passing a draft proposal to Metz on refinements on the legislation is not only betraying her board members but is a sinister effort to give Metz an unfair advantage.
The Citizens for Better Government, LLC has obtained other documents that suggest that Marilyn Bainter may have abused her position on the North Lake Hospital District Board to enhance her ability to win her lawsuit. We have documents that show Bainter, as a member of the District, contacted state agencies directly to obtain information. Usually all document requests by a board such as the North Lake Hospital District Board would come through its Chairman. It appears that Bainter circumvented the District’s Board members in conjunction with Larry Metz.
During the legislative session, Rep. Larry Metz tried to pass a bill to shield legislators from the sunshine laws of Florida. We have evidence that suggests Rep. Metz did not completely comply with our group’s sunshine law document request. Next week, we will show how we believe Metz is trying to “shield” his involvement in the hospital district.
Here is the bottom line. If a business person influenced a Florida legislator to gain personal benefit to the extent that Bainter has done with Metz, there would probably be serious ethical investigations of both parties. Bainter is mixing her full support of Larry Metz with her own lawsuit crusade against the hospitals, while serving and circumventing the very board that governs the funding of the North Lake Hospital District. If that isn’t a conflict of interest then someone better redefine the term. The District Board should investigate Marilyn Bainter’s actions to determine if any laws were violated.
In both Bainter and Metz’s zeal to destroy the healthcare industry in Lake County, they have taken a treacherous path of ethics, which stinks of political corruption. Just to think, all of this effort by them to stop a poor person from getting basic medical care in Lake County—why?
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