Tulare County DA can keep Benzeevi assets, judge rules

This article has been updated to clarify that Benzeevi’s assets can be kept while he is being investigated.

The Tulare County District Attorney’s office can keep assets and property seized from Dr. Benny Benzeevi while the office investigates his actions managing Tulare Regional Medical Center, Hon. Judge John Bianco ruled today.

Proceedings lasted multiple weeks, beginning on February 19, and ending today, including a break during the last two weeks of February.

The evidentiary hearing centered on a single question: were the assets and property “contraband” from any crimes that Benzeevi may have committed?

If so, the office could keep them; if not, they needed to be returned to Benzeevi.

Background

In August of 2017, Benzeevi established a $3m lease-back loan through Celtic Leasing by selling Tulare Regional Medical Center property. Benzeevi is CEO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, which managed the hospital at the time.

Through a series of transactions, Benzeevi eventually ended up with $2.4m in his personal bank account, according to court documents and the DA’s office.

The remaining $937,000 of the Celtic funds remaining in Benzeevi’s personal account was seized by the DA in April, 2018.

According to testimony in the case, no payments were ever made by HCCA or the district on the $80,000/mo lease agreement.

Elliot Peters, lead attorney for Benzeevi and HCCA, contended that HCCA’s wide-ranging management contract allowed Benzeevi to pay himself back for loans he made to the hospital district.

These loans – as evidenced by promisory notes – came with an interest rate of ten percent.

Trevor Holly, an attorney with the district attorney’s office, didn’t agree with that assessment, but did state that Benzeevi had a fiduciary duty to the hospital preventing him from “self-dealing.”

Benzeevi could potentially, Judge Bianco found, be prosecuted under California Government Codes 1090 and 87100, justifying the district attorney’s continued hold on the seized assets.

Government Code 1090 states:

“(a) Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members. Nor shall state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees be purchasers at any sale or vendors at any purchase made by them in their official capacity.

(b) An individual shall not aid or abet a Member of the Legislature or a state, county, district, judicial district, or city officer or employee in violating subdivision (a).”

Government Code 87100 states:

“No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest.”

“The withdrawl of these funds went to deprive the district,” Bianco said. “These funds were not taken openly and unavowed.”

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

17 thoughts on “Tulare County DA can keep Benzeevi assets, judge rules

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  1. And yet, no charges filed by the DA’s Office and Tim Ward still hasn’t returned the tainted “donations.” I’m there is no correlation.

  2. Glad to hear this. Benzeevi was running a classic shell game. The hospital board became complicit right along with him once they made the decision to look the other way. I believe that is called aiding and abetting.

  3. This is a nice start. Never forget that Benzeevi was only able to do what he did because of a board that paid little attention to what was really going on. Will we ever know the reason someone with no experience was chosen to run the hospital or why they gave him such an exorbitant contract that decimated the District.

    A shell game was exactly what it was. It is three years ago this week that I presented to the chamber board against Measure I. I specifically talked of how the financial data and the census just didn’t add up. It became so obvious that bills weren’t being paid.

    Back then don’t forget the flyers and newspaper ads that said he wasn’t getting 30% of the employee labor, a deal that made it lucrative for him to overstaff. Now they argue he had the ability to do it because of the contract. The contract that a board that was asleep at the wheel gave him.

    Keep it up DA office, a hard case but justice needs to happen. Not only was the financial bleed so horrible but we should never forget the loss of life because of that financial greed.

    • Can you please explain how “the financial data and the census didn’t add up”? How long were the bills not being paid? Just trying to understand.

  4. I agree Deanne. But let’s not forget he did not do this by himself. He had two other staff members, one was Allen Germany the chief financial officer and the other a hired employee. I’m sure the employee ihas been granted immunity for his testimony. But Allen Germany needs to be prosecuted for misappropriation etc. as well as Benzeevi. Germany needs to be stripped of any licenses he holds to practice accounting in any state.

  5. Sadly, the greed and corruption began well before Benzeevi and his mob took control. The “Indian Mafia” was siphoned off $$$ from their positions as providers in the Hillman via fraud….and the board (and CEO) turned a blind eye.

    • So true, it has gone on for many years long before Benzeevi and even long before Hillman. But that of course is a bitter pill to swallow because so many people think so highly of the kingpin doctor of them all that has become a very rich man on tax payer dollars.

  6. Deanne speaks of not turning a blind eye, but doesn’t seem to mind the false election that the current board held to put Adventist in control, and she doesn’t seem to mind the double dealing at Tulare Council that took nine million dollars that the Board didn’t get from Adventist thanks to negotiating advised on by a current Council member, who was all to glad to give it to them from another agency without publicly noting his role in the original negotiations.

    One wonders why Deanne is silent about these late developments when she says she is working according to principle.

    It still doesn’t add up.

    • the only problem the city of Tulare has is the councilman that is probably writing this post Just wondering!

    • Why is it necessary for you to shoot down Deanne? Obviously either you haven’t been following her posts closely or your agenda is to simply to discredit her. That dog won’t hunt…..she is one of Tulare’s true warriors. Based on your post you aren’t coming from “informed facts” so there is no way you are working from a principled point of view.

    • Carlton post under many names. Tske this post with a grain salt. Carlton has no integrity. A replaced ex mayor.

  7. Again I have to agree that none, NONE of this would have happened if the previous CEO, Boluki, that criminal Board of his and his minions hadn’t put the District in the situation in which a management company had to be hired. Together they foolishly squandered Federal, State and local funds bring the hospital to near bankruptcy. Read the history folks. Read the news articles and comments.

  8. More than likely Iddo Benzeevi is the one who helped his brother organize these types of actions.

    In Moreno Valley, Iddo has used his campaign influence over the city council majority to get out of development contracts, had the taxpayers fund infrastructure his company Highland Fairview was responsible for originally, city staff are terminated or hired under his sway, streets have been renamed after his never to be build land proposals, etc.

    The kingpin essentially has Moreno Valley City Hall working as an extension of his private company and also leases office space from them too. Highland Fairview’s office is literally down the street where Benzeevi can easily walk in and out and get special support and priority.

    Before all of this Benny Benzeevi was just a medical doctor with no business. Years before, his older brother was the one pulling strings to manipulate an entire community.

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