If you’re not reading SRHS Trustee Scott Taylor’s blog…..

Then those of you that get part of your daily news on Slabbed are really missing out. First off I want to give Taylor a WordPress platform tip so that the posts and comment time stamps are expressed in local time. From your dashboard go to “settings”, then click “general” on the sub-menu. On your general settings tab change the timezone to “UTC-5” from the drop down menu. You can thank me later.

On Sunday, Taylor posted his take on the Board of Supervisor’s recent Public Relations push with legal consultant Billy Guice on the point for the Sups. The post was good but the comments to Taylor’s post, as is often the case on an interactive website, are out of this world and I think are a must read.

My personal opinion is most everyone on the outside looking in at the Singing River financial disaster without a financial dog in the hunt, especially informed financial observers spot the self-serving duplicity in how both the Supervisors and the SRHS Board of Trustees are trying to frame the management perpetrated accounting fraud which lays at the heart of financial crisis that grips the hospital.

At its most basic, both the Sups and the SHRS Trustees are trying to scapegoat the former auditors and the retirees for the bad business practices and fraudulent  financial reporting which occurred under former CEO Chris Anderson’s and CFO Mike Crews’ watch at the helm of SRHS. It is a shame the old time practice of tarring and feathering has gone out of style because I can think of five Supervisors (Stupidvisors in RFP speak) that deserve a good tarring, feathering before being run out of town on a rail. These are strong words but I am an informed financial observer so the bullshit is easy to spot. Let’s start with April Havens over at the Mississippi Alabama Press:

Jackson County supervisors this morning announced they are suing KPMG, Singing River Health System’s former audit firm whose work led to a disastrous $88 million accounting adjustment.

Supervisors today hired attorney Billy Guice on a contingent fee basis to represent the county in its suit against the audit firm.

KPMG has been the scapegoat of choice for both the SRHS Board when the financial fraud (though it was not reported as such by the Mississippi Alabama Press) first came to light back in March, 2014 as County Comptroller Josh Eldridge, reportedly a CPA that previously worked for the State Auditor’s office took point for the Sups spinning the management perpetrated financial fraud just days after Chris Anderson abruptly left Singing River Health for Baptist in Jackson:

“It’s a large adjustment,” county Comptroller Josh Eldridge said.

Board attorney Jessica Dupont noted, however, that the county doesn’t know of a current lawsuit.

The health system is county-owned, and the county backs its debt, but county tax dollars do not fund the system’s operations. The county has five mills pledged in case the health system ever defaults on its debt, but Eldridge noted the system is “not even close” to default.

That tune has since changed with regard to the bonds being in default, such condition also present when Eldridge made those initial statements. Now back to Jackson County’s announcement that they were suing KPMG as Guice literally beclowns himself before the financial and auditing community as he lists two grounds for the suit:

Last week, Guice said the audits did not appropriately disclose the state of the pension in the annual audits. That information should have been presented in the audit highlights at the beginning of the document, he said.

Instead, the most important information was buried in the “notes” section at the end of the audit, he said.

Now at this point I’m going to put on my professional hat as a CPA/Auditor but I’m going to express the concepts in the language used by an 8 year old so that maybe some of this sinks in with the Stupidvisors, who I would highly encourage to run  by their in-house financial expert Josh Eldridge.

The “front part” of the audit is called “Management Discussion and Analysis“. You see boys and girls, in an audit there are two teams. One team is called management. The boys and girls that belong to Team Management work at the hospital. These people include doctors and nurses that cure your bobos and hurts. It also includes the boys and girls that manage the hospital. The other team is called the “auditors” and that team includes the boys and girls that make sure the Hospital reports its cures of bobos and hurts accurately for everyone most everyone for just a few people to see.

Now back to grownup talk for the professionals that read this website. Continue reading “If you’re not reading SRHS Trustee Scott Taylor’s blog…..”

Comment bumps from Jackson County. The truth is likely very ugly

Slabbed literally has lifers that go back way far back but there are just a handful that were there for the prequel, Nowdy being in that number. As I watch the Singing River Health System disaster unfold I’m reminded of old business because I’m seeing it connect in certain ways to that which is now before us. And at the bottom are the vested participants in the plan.

I think the commenters are making a case that the Jackson County Board of Supervisors is stalling for time to avoid revealing the truth because the truth in this instance is very ugly. Anyone that can read a financial statement can see how bad it is when it is adjusted for the fraudulent financial reporting related to patient receivables. When you adjust the numbers and run rudimentary financial analysis, the tax increase needed to honor the promises made to the vested plan participants would be staggering.

There are other options. I have colleagues that have suggested to me that privatizing the two hospitals under one operator would be the better option, a process Jefferson Parish Louisiana is currently concluding with the larger of its two public hospitals.

Given the history of the SRHS saga the commenting community here at Slabbed are rightfully skeptical.  Here is a sampling:

Legal Community battles are always down and dirty. Commenter R. Scruggs lays down brass tacks and smack on “Thursday SRHS Miscellany: Public hospital to comply with Open Meetings bill passes the Senate, plus a court hearing.

Simple Man understands the truth is likely to be very ugly on “SRHS Retirees Protest through the Mardi Gras Holiday plus Judge Harris is on the case to stay (Updated)” after Observer worked the math.

Litigation ain’t easy: A Heather Hilliard / SRHS v KPMG update

Ramon Antonio Vargas tells the story behind the story of a determined litigant in former Jefferson Parish CAO Heather Hilliard and her two and a half year journey to justice for the New Orleans Advocate that is good reading as another news story originally broke by Slabbed New Media (here and here) completes its cycle through the news. Looks like I’ll need to shake the tree to see what is happening these days up on 10 at Yenni.  😉

Moving right along in other litigation news, it does not appear KPMG is very scared of the lawsuit that Kevin Holland and company at SRHS filed against the audit firm late last week per April Havens.  I really don’t want to throw any wet blankets on this legal matter but based on the wording in the complaint, I think the only people that will make any money from the endeavor will be the lawyers.  I strongly suspect we’ll be seeing a 12(b)(6) motion asking for dismissal from KPMG and the reason such a motion stands a good chance is actually found in the 2013 Audit Report prepared by Horne CPAs in several places but I will highlight two places, the first on pdf page three of the report.

Management’s Responsibility for the Financial Statements

Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America; this includes the design, implementation and maintenance of internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

You would assume someone that has been in a senior management role at SRHS for as long as CEO Kevin Holland would understand these things but my experience is when the shit hits the fan, the stuffed suits typically pretend they don’t know jack while trying to cover things up and this is indeed the route senior management at SRHS has been taking since last March. Preserving talking points seems to be the paramount concern at SRHS these days and the public money being thrown at the KPMG lawsuit endeavor will be both copious in amount and represent a good example of the wasting of assets, all while management at SRHS tries putting the screws to its own retirees.

Here is the second place that I mentioned and it is on the very last page of the audit: Continue reading “Litigation ain’t easy: A Heather Hilliard / SRHS v KPMG update”

Feedback loop established…..

I guess my question, had I been there, is what in the heck is taking ya’ so long Kevin? After all the gang at SRHS has been yammering about this for close to a year now.

SRHS pursuing action against former auditing firm KPMG for erroneous financial reports ~ April Havens

The follow up question would have involved something about top management excluding financing arrangements that had been repo’d from the books and the general lack of financial statement disclosures (management’s responsibility for the uninitiated) regarding off balance sheet arrangements with certain area lenders to finance patient balances but since I wasn’t there all we have is Kevin’s word on this that management had no clue their own books were off by $88 million dollars.

The word that comes to mind here is infantilized.  What Holland is saying using other words is what you have at SRHS is management that is good enough to collect fat six figure paychecks but also simultaneously completely clueless about their own bookkeeping being off by $88 million dollars.  These people, like me are all CPAs to boot. One word folks:

Of course we know from published reports there was one guy a bit further down the food chain that knew the score and tried to warn them and the gang running the show at SRHS choose to ignore him.

If this is how that crisis management PR firm is earning their money God help the Jackson County taxpayers.

Additional background here.

The Center cannot hold! While financial issues churn, Kingsway Financial Services burns. KFS = Kentucky Fried Shareholders?

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born

Nowdy my mind is open to the possibility Kingsway Financial Services has been slabbed. God bless the innocent employees and shareholders. Continue reading “The Center cannot hold! While financial issues churn, Kingsway Financial Services burns. KFS = Kentucky Fried Shareholders?”