MetroHealth Hospital, West 25th Street, Clark-Fulton, Cleveland
MetroHealth Hospital, West 25th Street in Cleveland's Clark-Fulton neighborhood. Credit: Paul Rochford / Signal Cleveland

MetroHealth System responded in court Monday to claims by its former CEO that it fired him in retaliation for challenging the board over transparency law violations. In his filing, Dr. Akram Boutros accused the hospital of violating Ohio’s Open Meetings Act and said the hospital system created bogus charges against him for taking what MetroHealth described as unauthorized bonuses totaling almost $2million dollars.  

In a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas filing, the hospital argues that Boutros never revealed to the board that he created his own performance goals for bonuses he awarded himself over four years.  

“Dr. Boutros has admitted that he never asked the Board to consider setting these supplemental goals or to evaluate his performance based on those goals, nor did he make any effort to inform the Board that he had crafted his own supplemental bonus program,” MetroHealth said in the court file. 

“To the contrary, he concealed it.”

MetroHealth asserts that because of Boutros’ decision to “conceal” this information, the group decided to terminate Boutros in November 2022.  

The hospital board accused Boutros of paying himself $1.9 million in bonuses between 2018 and 2022 without the board’s knowledge. He repaid the money, with interest, according to an investigative report from Tucker Ellis. Boutros disputed the board’s claims and has since filed two lawsuits against the board, including one seeking millions for defamation.  

The hospital also states that, while searching for its new CEO, the board obeyed the law during all meetings and Boutros was aware of it. The search for his replacement began in December 2021, when he announced that he was stepping down.  

“It is only now, after the Board terminated Dr. Boutros’ employment for cause for awarding himself over $1.9 million in unauthorized bonuses, that Dr. Boutros attempts to deflect from his own conduct by creating false stories of retaliation,” MetroHealth said in the court filing.

Read the court filing here

Health Reporter (she/her)
Candice, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a freelance writer whose reporting and digital media work have appeared in The Daily Beast, VICE, Cleveland Magazine and elsewhere. She has written about health, equity and social justice.