The Tulare Local Healthcare District had a special meeting January 31 to discuss, among other business, a “Recommendation to authorize Assembly Member Devon Mathis and State Senator Jean Fuller to represent the District before government agencies on behalf of the District.”
The recommendation came after the JLAC “unanimously approved a request by Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) to audit the Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, Tulare Regional Medical Center, and the Tulare Local Health Care District.”
Alberto Aguilar, formerly on the hospital’s bond oversight committee, spoke during public comment concerning the agenda item,
“I don’t know why it is on the agenda,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar retold the story of how his requests for a JLAC audit were ignored by Mathis in 2015/2016. Aguilar said that Mathis said he could not request an audit because he owed Dr. Benny Benzeevi a favor.
Aguilar told the board, “…and that favor turned out to be the money he was receiving from Dr. Benzeevi. It’s my understanding that he received a large sum of money from Dr. Benzeevi and here is a politician who says he puts people above politics. Obviously he was more concerned with how much money was in his pocket rather than the people that were being affected.”
Aguilar ended his comments with, “I would not recommend the involvement of Mr. Mathis with anything because of what has happened in the past.”
Trustee Xavier Avila said that he feels the same as Aguilar.
“For the record, I am pretty much against anybody who was on Benzeevi’s side during all that time.”
The board discussed the possibility of adverse consequences to the hospital if they removed Mathis’ name and decided that there would be none. If the board found that there might be a problem, they agreed to revisit the issue in the future.
Trustee Stephen Harrell made a motion that the board remove Mathis’ name from the recommendation and Avila seconded it.
The vote was unanimous.