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Miami Hospital Sues Exec Recruiting Firm
Mount Sinai Medical Center filed a fraud lawsuit against an executive recruiting firm, claiming the headhunters hid the tarnished track record of the hospital's former chief executive, who had nearly $65 million in losses.
The hospital sued Heidrick & Struggles in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last week over the 1998 hiring of Bruce Perry, who had glowing reviews for his work at Children's Hospital in the District of Columbia and Community Hospitals of Central California in Fresno.
In reality, the lawsuit said Perry left both hospitals in bad shape. Mount Sinai claims Heidrick & Struggles knew or should have known Perry's past before recommending him for the hospital's top job.
Eric Sodorff, communications manager for Heidrick & Struggles, said he was unaware of the lawsuit but noted that the company does not comment on pending litigation. Perry, who was not named as a defendant, did not return a phone message.
The Chicago-based recruiting firm earned a $169,000 finder's fee for matching Mount Sinai and Perry and was retained by Perry to hire subordinates, the suit said.
Perry, who was fired in October 2001, had projected a $3.5 million profit for the year, but the year-end report found an operating loss of $64.8 million.
The lawsuit blamed the loss on "the incompetence of Mr. Perry and his staff, many of whom had been hired through the efforts of Heidrick & Struggles" and "Perry's complete inability" to run a hospital of Mount Sinai's size.
The hospital is Florida's largest, independent, not-for-profit teaching hospital and includes the Miami Heart Institute.
The lawsuit asks for damages of more than $15,000, the legal threshold for a Circuit Court damage claim. An actual damage figure is normally offered at the end of any trial.