A lengthy dispute in Scottsboro, Ala., over the source of funds for a $600,000 settlement paid to a former hospital administrator has ended with the disclosure that local county property taxes were used.
The Scottsboro Daily Sentinel sued the Jackson County Health Care Authority in January after the authority refused to disclose the amount and source of the settlement paid to James Mason, who was fired last year.
Mason had sued the healthcare authority over his dismissal as the authority's chief executive officer and administrator of 142-bed Jackson County Hospital in Scottsboro.
The newspaper argued the public had a right to know the source of the settlement because the nine-member board receives taxpayer funds from the County Commission.
The authority released the details of its Dec. 29 settlement during a press conference April 9 at the hospital. The board hopes its insurance company will reimburse the entire amount it paid Mason.
Atlanta lawyer Kurt Powell, representing the authority in its dispute with the newspaper, said a confidentiality provision in the settlement prevented the board from releasing the details earlier. But he said Mason recently agreed to allow the board to release the information.
According to the settlement, the $600,000 included $458,299 for "emotional distress and mental anguish" over alleged violations of Mason's civil rights, $29,143 as reimbursement for medical expenses incurred as a result of the alleged distress and anguish, and $32,058 in back pay.