Tom Bullock

Reporter

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR.  Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit.  Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others.  Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.

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WFAE

Yes, this podcast could have stopped with episode 10. Instead we channeled our inner Spinal Tap and made this one "go to 11."

Why? 

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

Just days after North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services took control of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, officials have found an email exchange between ousted Cardinal CEO Richard Topping and the ousted members of its board.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare

Over the last year, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare has been under intense scrutiny. Three state audits focused on the CEO’s compensation and the generous severance packages for him and 10 other top executives.

Former CEO Richard Topping was earning far more than his state mandated salary of $204,195. And he just took a severance of $1.7 million. He’s been publicly silent until now. He spoke to WFAE Monday night, after he was immediately removed and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services took control of the Charlotte company that coordinates behavioral health care for 850,000 people in 20 counties. 

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services has had enough of the leadership at Charlotte-based Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

There have been expensive parties and board retreats, excessive CEO pay and severance agreements deemed outrageous – all funded by taxpayers.

On Monday, DHHS took over the company.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has temporarily taken control of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare and  fired Cardinal’s board of directors.

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

Three Cardinal Innovations Healthcare executives have resigned in the wake of the firing CEO Richard Topping. The severance for all four executives is more than $3.8 million.

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

Claims of a vindictive board of directors, more loyal to a CEO than the company they watch over.

A CEO who's salary far exceeds his peers.

Throw in expensive staff parties and retreats and you'd have a shareholder scandal in publicly traded company.

But when all of this happens and is paid for with tax dollars, you have something else entirely. The story of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare

The board of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare has voted to fire controversial CEO Richard Topping. But, come Monday, Topping will still be employed and still be the head of the company.

This unusual termination capped off an unusual night for company charged with administering $682 million tax dollars throughout 20 counties in North Carolina.

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

The board of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is meeting Friday. Normally this alone is not news. But the last few months have been anything but normal for the largest behavioral health managed care organization in the state.

Court Documents

A new proposed redistricting map would change only a small number of legislative districts, but could have major implications on North Carolina politics. It was drawn not by lawmakers, but by a court-appointed professor to correct illegal racial gerrymanders and other districts that may violate state law.

All Things Considered Host Mark Rumsey and WFAE's Tom Bullock discuss what all of this may mean.

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