Dr. Benny Benzeevi and his former colleagues, Alan Germany and Bruce Greene, are set to be arraigned on January 12 after Judge Michael Sheltzer denied filings to have the charges against them thrown out.
Demurrer moved at snail’s pace way through court
The ruling came more than a year after attorneys for the three lodged the filings, known as demurrers.
During that time, the case has moved between four different judges at the Tulare County Superior Court, landing in Sheltzer’s lap this year. The three face a combined 46 charges — including money laundering and using official positions for personal gain — related to alleged crimes while managing the Tulare Regional Medical Center and Southern Inyo Hospital.
Benzeevi, as CEO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, managed Tulare Regional and Southern Inyo; Germany served as HCCA’s Chief Financial Officer and Southern Inyo’s Chief Restructuring Officer.
Greene served as the attorney for both HCCA and the Tulare Local Healthcare District — the public entity that owns Tulare Regional — and represented Benzeevi’s other companies as well.
All three have denied the charges, which were filed after the largest investigation ever undertaken by the Tulare County District Attorney’s office, according to Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward.
“Obviously we are disappointed in the decision,” Peter Jones, an attorney for Benzeevi with the Fresno-based Wanger Jones Helsley firm, told the Valley Voice.
Although Sheltzer denied the demurrers, he wrote that the district attorney’s office “clearly [had] some areas where the district attorney could ‘clean up’ the pleadings in the complaint to provide more detailed notice,” and wrote that the office “should amend each special allegation relating to Defendant Benzeevi to reflect that he has returned to the United States and on what date.”
“Although the Judge did not order the District Attorney to provide greater specificity, he strongly encouraged it, so I suspect we may still see a 2nd amended complaint,” Jones said.
High-profile attorneys request to drop out of case
In January, Benzeevi retained high-profile counsel from attorneys Jose Baez, Gabrielle McCabe and Ronald Sullivan. Baez made headlines for representing public figures such as Casey Anthony, Aaron Hernandez, and Harvey Weinstein; Sullivan, a Harvard professor, also represented Hernandez and Weinstein.
The attorneys filed a request on October 6 to be removed as Benzeevi’s attorneys of record, stating that he had voluntarily terminated their representation; the request came five days after Sheltzer denied Benzeevi access to funds seized by the district attorney’s office.
Although a court filing states that Benzeevi owed the Wanger firm attorneys “a significant amount of money,” the requests do not state any reason for the termination beyond Benzeevi terminating their representation voluntarily.
Jones declined to comment on the attorneys’ withdrawal from the case.