Trouble continues to brew this week for Rodney Miller as the young hospital executive is set to answer charges that he conspired with his management team to steal from the Virgin Islands hospital where he was chief executive officer.
Miller, the 36-year-old former CEO of 123-bed Roy Lester Schneider Hospital in St. Thomas, was arrested last week along with Amos Carty, who was chief operating officer and succeeded Miller as CEO; Peter Najawicz, who was chief financial officer under both men; and June Adams, who was chairman of the hospitals governing board. Each is charged with embezzlement, conspiracy, making fraudulent claims to the government and conversion of government property. The three executives are also charged with grand larceny.
The judge in the case has issued a gag order, a spokeswoman for the Virgin Islands Justice Department said. In a petition Millers attorneys filed to challenge a restraining order on his bank account, the footnotes offer a bristling defense and diatribe. During his tenure from 2002 to 2007, Miller raised more than $20 million through private donations and grants and won accreditation from the Joint Commission, the attorneys wrote, charging that the prosecution has now taken on the air of a publicity-driven personal crusade, and that a lucrative contract is not a crime and no amount of publicity or prosecutorial posturing can make it so.
In 2002, the year Miller was named to the position, Modern Healthcare recognized him on its Up & Comers list. He also appeared on the magazines Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare list in 2006 and 2008.
Affidavits filed by the lead investigator on the case paint a different picture of what Miller did with Carty and Najawicz. They acted in concert as a criminal enterprise within the (hospital) using various tools such as stipend agreements, contracts, letters of direction and various other perks to give the appearance of legitimacy to unlawful transfers and misappropriation of funds, wrote Nicholas Peru, a special investigator for the Virgin Islands Inspector General. Peru identified about $2.2 million that he claims were illegally transferred into Millers credit union account with approval from his COO and CFO.
An audit report released in July by the inspectors general of the Virgin Islands and the U.S. Interior Department prompted Miller to resign from his subsequent job as administrator of 690-bed Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. Carty and Najawicz were removed soon after. Miller, Adams and Carty are scheduled to enter their pleas to the charges Oct. 16 in Virgin Islands Superior Court.