When the chips were down and Tulare’s hospital was in danger of going under Devon Mathis did exactly nothing–except take money from HCCA, the hospital’s former management company. Now that the chips are on the table again, in the form of an election, he has nakedly, cynically, grandiosely donated that money to the hospital’s foundation.
Bob Dylan: “Tell me great hero, but please make it brief. Is there a hole for me to get sick in?”
Let’s be clear. Devon Mathis had exactly nothing to do with the hospital’s eventual recovery from HCCA’s predatory management. That was down solely to a group of concerned citizens and the hard work done by a new and determined hospital board.
But now, according to a front page Visalia Times-Delta article of August 13, Mathis has swanned back into visibility with a donation of 10 grand to the hospital’s foundation. This may be the only decent thing he’s achieved in office, despite the fact that his previous benefactors now find themselves charged with a raft of financial crimes.
I don’t particularly care about the money. Mathis is no exception in this regard. Plenty of other local politicos accepted money from HCCA. But Mathis was the only one asked, in his capacity as an assemblyman, to request a state audit of HCCA’s conduct back when it could have made a difference. Instead, he demurred. Then, according to at least one former staff–and family–member, he lied about it, claiming to have made the request. Then, let’s say two years and twelve thousand dollars short, he at long last did actually request an audit.
But the damage had been done.
Basically, Devon Mathis turned a blind eye to and paved the road for Dr. Benny Benzeevi, HCCA’s owner. And if you think this is some kind of exception, consider Moreno Valley, where Benzeevi’s brother, Iddo, is a developer widely accused of corrupting local politicians to secure sweet land deals. Many Moreno Valley residents follow this paper precisely because we have uncovered similar unsavory, if fraternal, tactics.
You can’t suddenly become uncorrupt simply by donating money. Especially during election season. Especially years after the act of having accepted it–from people who may have been committing financial crimes at the time.
To be any good you have to be incorruptible from the beginning. When concerned constituents reasonably ask you to request something in your capacity you should not brush them off. You should not lie about it. You should not then follow through in so tardy a fashion as to render the request inconsequential.
And you should not donate money in so craven a manner during an election season.
But you should be ashamed of yourself. Deeply ashamed. In fact, you should resign.