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Hope Star - Hope, AR
  • Trial set in hospital bed thefts

  • Trial has been set for the week of July 29 in connection with hospital equipment theft allegations against the nephew of one of the former owners of Medical Park Hospital.
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  • Trial has been set for the week of July 29 in connection with hospital equipment theft allegations against the nephew of one of the former owners of Medical Park Hospital. Two of the former owners of the now-defunct Medical Park Hospital have been ordered transported to Hope from federal prison to testify in the theft of property trial of Scott Duane Cheek, of Verbena, Ala., according to filings in Hempstead County Circuit Court. James Cheek and Herschel Brieg, formerly of Springfield, Mo., two of the former owners of Carraway Medical Systems, LLC, the operating parent of Hope Medical Park Hospital, LLC, are to testify as defense witnesses, according to filings by Little Rock defense attorney Danny Crabtree. Scott Cheek, nephew of James Cheek, was taken into custody Aug. 22, 2012, on 28 counts of theft of property by Hempstead County investigators and Clanton, Ala., police on a warrant issued from Hempstead County regarding the theft of 28 Stryker medical surgical hospital beds, valued at $153,480.60; 12 overbed type patient tables, valued at $3,182.40; and, two Legend drawer cabinets, valued at $445.60. The thefts allegedly occurred sometime in 2010 under Cheek's direction with the alleged assistance of other former employees of the former Medical Park Hospital. The equipment was allegedly transported by Scott Cheek's direction to Chilton Medical Center in Clanton, Ala. At the time of Scott Cheek's arrest, Chilton Medical Center officials said the beds and other equipment involved in the investigation were purchased by CMC from Carraway Medical Systems, LLC. But, local authorities maintain that no payment was made to the Hope hospital for the equipment. Joann Bartlett, formerly human resources and marketing director at Chilton Medical Center, said at the time that, “Chilton Medical Center paid funds for those beds to the management group.” Carraway Medical Systems, LLC, owned by James R. Cheek, his brother, Teddy Cheek, Brieg, and William Dudley Bell, operated MPH from 2010 until it was acquired by Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana under a judicial foreclosure in April and subsequently sold to Wadley's parent company, IASIS Healthcare Corp., in bankruptcy. Scott Duane Cheek is the son of the late Wayne Cheek, the brother of James R. and Teddy Cheek. James R. Cheek and Brieg were each sentenced to five years imprisonment on federal income tax charges in June, 2012, stemming from their hiding some $5 million which should have been paid to cover employee payroll taxes for Highland Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, which they owned and operated. James Cheek is incarcerated in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Brieg is incarcerated at the federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Carraway operated Chilton Medical Center, under a management agreement with Sunlink Health Systems, of Atlanta, Ga., until November, 2012, when the Alabama Department of Public Health rescinded the hospital's operating license. Chilton Medical Center, at that time a 60-bed hospital serving Chilton County and surrounding communities, has since been closed. The Chilton County Hospital Board, which had sought to put about $1 million into the prospect of keeping it open, has since walked away after learning that at least $11 million in repairs and code enforcement renovations would be necessary to keep the facility open, according to published reports in Alabama. The Internal Revenue Service has since filed liens against the property to recover employee payroll taxes which were not paid over to it during Carraway's management of the facility, according to those same reports. “Current activities at the hospital are mainly focused on identifying equipment that has been rented or leased and working the the respective owners to return the equipment,” Chilton Medical Center receiver Don Ball is quoted in Alabama press reports saying. Ball was not available for comment at press time Tuesday regarding the status of the MPH hospital equipment in that inventory. Meanwhile, Chilton County, Alabama, officials have called for a tax election next year to fund some $20 million for the construction of a new, county-owned hospital, according to published reports.
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