County Hospital releases little information after KCBD request - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

County Hospital releases little information after KCBD request for documents

Greg Bruce (KCBD File Photo) Greg Bruce (KCBD File Photo)

Officials with University Medical Center and Lubbock County refuse to provide even the most basic information about embezzlement allegations that led to the sudden resignation of UMC Vice President Greg Bruce.

Hundreds of pages of public records were released Thursday, but they provide almost no new insight.

UMC announced Bruce's resignation Tuesday afternoon saying, "During an internal audit, UMC discovered a possible employee embezzlement. As a result of the audit, Greg Bruce, UMC vice president of corporate services, resigned effective immediately."

The resignation is addressed to David Allison, President of UMC Health Systems. It is dated December 22, and it simply says, "Dear David: I hereby resign from UMC Health System, effective immediately." It is written on plain white paper, not UMC letterhead.

The announcement does not say if Bruce is the one accused of taking the money, nor does it say how much money is missing.

When asked Tuesday how much money is missing, County Commissioner Patty Jones said, "I don't it's appropriate to comment at this time." Jones and other officials have flatly refused to quantify the amount, even in generic terms.

While UMC did release Bruce's resignation letter, contract, and employee evaluation forms, no information about the audit was released.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 made an open records request for many documents including a "copy of the audit" on Tuesday. An attorney with UMC responded on Thursday, "No document exists responsive to your request."

But the news release on Tuesday made specific reference to an audit. So KCBD NewsChannel 11 asked for clarification.

UMC's Associate General Counsel, Kristi Ward, wrote back "You are accurate that UMC's press release made mention of a routine internal audit. Such an audit was conducted. However, no audit report was generated related to that review."

Among the documents withheld, at least for now, are "Any written correspondence to or from Mr. Bruce pertaining to embezzlement or missing funds."

Tuesday's news release says, "UMC is cooperating with the FBI and U.S. attorney in the investigation." However, according to Ward there is no written correspondence from UMC to the FBI or the office of U.S. Attorney requesting help or requesting an investigation.

Also according to Ward, none of UMC's employees who worked for Bruce have been fired or asked to resign in the last year. Bruce has controlled varying degrees of UMC's budget over the years. In 1997 he controlled nearly $2,000,000 and supervised 100 or more employees. In 2005, even though he had been promoted, his position was different, with two subordinate employees and a budget of $450,000.

Bruce was receiving total compensation of almost $165,000 at the time of his resignation.

UMC says it is reviewing the possibility of releasing more records to KCBD NewsChannel 11, or asking the Texas Attorney General for permission to withhold them.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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