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The Jasper Hospital District (JHD) and the Jasper Hospital Foundation (JHF) and eight of its nine members have been named in a lawsuit filed in State District Court by a recently elected member of both boards. According to the complaint, the plaintiff, Dr. Ron McMurry, is asking the court to “appoint a special master or masters in this case to immediately halt continuing breaches of fiduciary duties, and bring the Jasper Hospital District (JHD) Board into compliance with state law”.

Named individually in the lawsuit are: Board President Kenneth Brooks, and Board Members Dr. Martin E. Gilliland, Debra Harris, Harold Kennedy, Michael Stewart Ratcliff, Chris Thomas, L.L. “Ace” Mathews, Jr., and John Hardin.

McMurry, since his election to the board last year, has complained that the JHD has not had financial audits in several years. He has also questioned the entity’s record keeping habits, and he says the board loaned money to a board member.

The lawsuit goes on to say that McMurry is asking the court to approve all expenditures of the board, and he’s also asking the court to force the board to advertise for bids to solicit a certified public accounting firm to conduct forensic audits of both the Jasper Hospital District, and the Jasper Hospital Foundation.

As for a “master” to be appointed by the court to temporarily oversee the board, McMurry is asking the court to appoint either Terry Napper, who has extensive experience in healthcare administration, or, Anderson M. Land, Jr., a licensed real estate agent who is currently a candidate for Jasper City Council, and has also served in management positions in the medical maintenance field.

The lawsuit also includes documents which purportedly show an April 17th, 2018 loan in the amount of $342,000.00 from the Jasper Hospital Foundation to board member Dr. Martin E. Gilliland and his medical clinic, Complete Healthcare Services. The documents say that the loan carries a 5% annual interest rate.

Late Thursday afternoon, the attorney who represents the Jasper Hospital District, Robert Jackson, issued the following statement on behalf of the entity:

Jasper Hospital District Jasper Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc. Robert M. Jackson, an attorney for the Jasper Hospital District and the Jasper Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc., at the mutual request of his clients, issues the following press release on behalf of his clients to the residents of the. Jasper Hospital District, a local governmental entity in Jasper County, Texas.

This Press Release is to acknowledge that Ron McMurry has recently instituted litigation against the Jasper Hospital District and the Jasper Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc., in the District Court of Jasper County, Texas. The lawsuit has been filed and the service of same is assumed to be forthcoming. KJAS officials have reached out to the district officers for comment. Rather than have a number of separate comments made by various directors of the two entities, this Press Release is issued as the directors collective response to our citizens who have questions about the news story that has been published by KJAS radio.

The Jasper Hospital District and the Jasper Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc. are aware that in today's unusual political environment, whether it be in the national realm, the state realm, or even in the local government realm, and certainly in the Facebook world in which we now live and must face on a daily basis, it is easy for someone to make unfounded allegations, accuse others of wrongdoing without any support of the real facts, and state what the law is, whether it is real, assumed, made up, or otherwise. Fake news, whether we realize it or not, and fake allegations, are all around us and we must make choices of what to believe on a daily basis.

However, in the real world lived and acted out in a courtroom, the law requires that one must deal with real provable facts, and the interaction of those facts as applied to the real law enacted and promulgated by the appropriate bodies of the State of Texas. A reading of Mr. McMurry's documents is interesting to say the least. The board of directors of each hospital entity named is looking forward to aggressively dealing with Ron McMurry and his allegations in the courtroom where real facts and real law exists and prevails. Each of the board of directors are comfortable with the position of the Jasper Hospital District and the Jasper Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc., because they know the real facts which exist and the lawful actions taken by the District and the Foundation. The District supported by the Foundation seeks to ensure that continuous quality healthcare is provided to the citizens in our community, unlike what has happened in some other rural communities in Texas, and the United States which have lost their local hospitals; that will not happen here! The citizens are being well served by at least eight of their elected representatives on the Jasper Hospital Board of directors, and they value their relationship with their constituents.

It must be said however, that this is real pending litigation, and any future comments will be limited by the District and the Foundation because it is important to not jeopardize the ongoing litigation matters so that the issues will be handled by the Court in a legally appropriate manner.

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