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Protesters Call For Bond's CEO And Lawyer To Resign

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By: Andy Alcock
September 30, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - There's a new call for changes at Bond Community Health Center.

A group of 17 protesters demonstrated outside Bond General Counsel Harold Knowles' office calling for his resignation.

They chanted "stop wasting taxpayer dollars, we want you gone."

The protesters also called for Bond Board Chairman Antonio Jefferson to step down from his position.

The demonstrators claim both Knowles and Jefferson are to blame for wasted taxpayer dollars at Bond.

One example they cited is a ten year lease deal currently costing Bond $8500 a month for a clinic yet to open.

Jefferson previously told Eyewitness News former Interim CEO Debra Weeks signed off on that lease without consulting Knowles or the board.

The protesters also say Knowles $90,000 a year salary is excessive.

Sylvia Hubbard who runs an HIV referral service in Bond's main building organized the demonstration.

Bond has given her clinic notice to vacate the building by October 11.
However, Hubbard says she's at the beginning of a ten year lease and has no plans to leave.

She claims Knowles actually runs Bond and not the board.

"Harold Knowles has quietly stayed in the background while Jefferson has been the person to speak," Hubbard said. "But everybody knows its Harold Knowles and that $90,000 salary," she said.

"There are 13 members of the board that run the center with the CEO and staff," said Jefferson. "Mr. Knowles serves at the pleasure of the board and he's there to provide the legal guidance that's needed," he said.

According to Jefferson, Knowles contract with Bond expires later this year.

He says it will be up to the board to determine if Knowles gets a new contract or not.

Staff at this lawfirm told us Knowles was out of town when the protesters were there Monday morning.

A staff member also told us Knowles would not issue a statement.


By: Andy Alcock
September 24, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - It's a ten year lease for more than $1-million and no workable plan to pay for it.

Bond Community Health Care board members are now facing that problem with their specialty clinic.

The building at the corner of South Monroe and Palmer is proving to be an issue for Bond Community Health Center.

In April, WCTV Eyewitness News reported the specialty clinic was supposed to open 30 days after getting a $1-million state grant a year ago.

A year after getting that grant money, the clinic for foot, eye, back and nutrition care has yet to open.

"As we began towards implementing the specialty care, we discovered the same issues that we have with the dentist and the psychiatrist," said Bond Board Chairman Antonio Jefferson.

The problem is the federal government has yet to appove the care providers or the building.

Until they do, like the problem currently facing Bond's psychiatrist and dentist, there's no malpractice insurance coverage.

"It's just been a lot of money on that, said Bond Board Member Tonie Dozier.

Reporter: "And there's no return at this point."
Dozier: "Not to this point, no."

Bond signed a ten year lease for the building.
The center is currently paying $8500 a month rent for a building not being used.

That rent increases to $10,000 a month for the last five years.

Jefferson says former interim CEO Debra Weeks signed the deal without having attorney Harold Knowles review it.

In addition to the $1-million Bond has already received, the state grant includes another $1-million each of the next two years for patient care.

But Jefferson says the current clinic business plan won't provide enough money to cover the remaining seven years on the lease after the grant money runs out.

"I think we need to be good stewards of the taxpayer money, whether it's federal, state or local and at this point, I don't see it," said Dozier.

Former interim CEO Weeks, with Attorney Knowles' review, also signed a three year lease at $3500 a month to move administrators to a builing across the street from Bond.

The idea is to make more room for patient care at the main facility.

But so far, that space hasn't been used for patient care.


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