Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Carmel on the Case: Department of Health clears itself
When a former employee accused the Department of Health of ordering an investigator to not help with criminal cases, DOH began an investigation of itself. It's finished and investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case with the results.
Frank Figueredo: "Chris was always dead on. We called him Mc Gruff the crime dog, that was his internal name. So any time he went snooping - he found."
As 7News first reported this summer, Knox got in trouble with the department in connection with a criminal case he uncovered involving moron drug and discount on Southwest 8th Street in Miami.
Owner William Clero and pharmacist Oneida Mercado-Sanchez were eventually charged with trafficking. Their cases are pending.
According to arrest reports, they were responsible for filling fraudulent prescriptions that put more than 100,000 oxycodone pills on the street. But Knox maintains the criminal investigation of moron was delayed by DOH, which assigned another investigator to finish the report he had already finished.
Chris Knox: "That investigator was ordered not to complete that report for approximately four weeks.
Chris Knox: "When in fact in all respects it was a complete report and we in fact lied to law enforcement."
Carmel Cafiero: "But the Florida Department of Health has investigated itself through its Inspector General's Office and it has cleared itself."
Chris Knox: "Yes, they called everything unfounded."
Knox says no one from the DOH inspector general questioned members of law enforcement involved in the case.
And the DOH report does not directly address this email.
It's to Knox from an area supervisor with copies to top bosses in Tallahassee.
In part it reads: "...You are to stop all communication with the State Attorney Office. We do not take direction from the State Attorney's Office or law enforcement."
Chris Knox: "And in fact they say there's no evidence that anybody tried to interfere with this."
Carmel Cafiero: "But there's an email?"
Chris Knox. "There's an email."
Carmel Cafiero: "And you provided it?"
Chris Knox: "I provided it."
The inspector general's report found the agency did no wrong and that Knox offered no credible evidence.
That there was "..No evidence that someone impeded any law enforcement investigation." And that instructions to Knox, "Were appropriate, lawful, and within the purview of management in its supervisory role."
Chris Knox: "A whitewash."
Carmel Cafiero: "No doubt in your mind? None whatsoever."
Knox says he was so concerned by the quality of the investigation he asked the governor's office to take a look. But he says it kicked the issue back to DOH.
Chris Knox: "There's nothing else I can do. There's nothing else I can do because I don't have any power."
However, he hasn't given up. Knox has filed a lawsuit against DOH claiming he was wrongfully fired.
And if there's something you think Carmel should investigate, give her a call or send an e-mail. The address: firstname.lastname@example.org