Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy says that claims he is hiding millions of dollars related to a $2.87-billion civil judgment are "hogwash" and will be proven false in the court discovery process. From a report at 1819news.com:
Richard Scrushy said he's ready for the truth to come out following allegations in court that he is hiding millions of dollars he could use to pay what he owes from a civil lawsuit.
"This entire story is completely false and hogwash, and the discovery will prove that," Scrushy told 1819 News.
The former HealthSouth CEO, who spent time in prison for bribery involving former Gov. Don Siegelman, owes $2.87 billion in a 2009 civil case. Now, attorneys for Encompass Health have accused him of writing $7.3 million in checks in the name of prisoner Eddie Briskett, who is serving time for multiple convictions, including property theft, burglary and assault.
"I'm not on that man's account," Scrushy said. "I cannot write a check on his account, I've never signed a signature card, and no, none of that is true. Not a single word and they know that."
Scrushy's comments refer to claims by attorneys for Encompass Health (the current name for what once was HealthSouth, the company Scrushy founded) that he is hiding money related to the $2.87-billion judgment. Reports Erica Thomas at 1819news.com:
The attorneys with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP claim Scrushy is using friends and family to conduct business and has written two checks to himself totaling $3 million.
Now, Scrushy told 1819 News that he wants the truth to come out in discovery. He has asked the judge to put him under oath and gain access to Briskett's account to prove the allegations are false. Scrushy said this is another way for the law firm to make more money off Encompass Health.
"There's nothing to this," said Scrushy. "And they have billed and billed Encompass Health. It's shameful what they've done."
Scrushy alleges the law firm has billed Encompass Health more than $110 million in about 10 years, although no documentation has been presented to back that claim. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP has not responded on the record to inquiries from 1819 News.
Longtime Alabama attorney, businessman, and civil-rights advocate Donald Watkins reported at his Web site that Encompass Health has paid more than $100 million for Bradley Arant to collect $33 million on a $2.9-billion civil-court judgment. Watkins said Bradley Arant is using an unusual "fee for services" contract in an effort to collect in the Scrushy matter. The arrangement, according to a post at DonaldWatkins.com, has provided little in the way of benefits to Bradley Arant's client, but it has created a financial windfall for the law firm in the form of what might be called "open-ended legal fees."
Rather than working on a standard 15% contingency-fee contract for debt-collection work, Watkins says, Bradley Arant has operated on an open-ended arrangement that has turned into a "gravy train" for the law firm. From 1819 News:
Scrushy said after 20 years of legal battles and 11 years since his release from federal custody, he feels he and his family continue to be attacked. He said he has a calling to do prison ministry, and now the positive thing he is doing is being turned into a negative.
"I've been doing prison ministries for years and years and years, and there are a lot of people that I've helped," Scrushy explained. "Those that have gotten out of prison, I have helped and gotten to know their families. There are people that go to prison, but it shouldn't mean that it destroys their life. I have worked with a lot of different people, and this young man [Eddie Briskett] is a good, Christian guy… When they did this, they hurt him. They hurt that guy, and he's a good man."
Scrushy said in his prison ministry, he has gotten to know a lot of inmates and formed strong bonds with them. He said he continues to communicate with them after they are released.
That is how he met Briskett 20 years ago, and he hopes the negative publicity does not impact Briskett's upcoming parole hearing.
"And to be attacked like this and for one of the people I deal with to be attacked like this is just really wrong," Scrushy added. "But it will all come out and prove to be right."
Judge John England, Jr. ordered a preliminary injunction stopping all transfers from the account in question pending discovery.