A whole lot of shit is flowing out of Hacienda HealthCare, the longterm care facility now under investigation after an incapacitated woman gave birth to a baby boy in December. Days after police arrested 36-year-old nurse Nathan Sutherland for raping the 29-year-old woman—a patient who has been in a vegetative state since she was three years old—the Arizona Republic reports that since-ousted CEO Bill Timmons is accused of sexually harassing and bullying staffers, creating a culture of fear and intimidation.
Former human resources manager Rhonda Pigati told the Republic that the rape incident “made me sick, but sadly, I wasn’t surprised.”
“I wasn’t surprised because of the culture [Timmons] created,” she said.
Pigati worked at Hacienda more than a decade ago, between 2006 and 2008. Multiple employees filed sexual harassment complaints, and Pigati said employees frequently complained of other inappropriate behavior, including bullying and yelling.
One former employee, Louise Jay, filed a sexual harassment complaint in 2006, after she said Timmons approached her and responded to a greeting by saying, “What was that? Cunnilingus? Fellatio?” He continued to harass her, according the complaint, ignoring her pleas to stop and instead escalating the harassment.
The Republic reports:
Timmons once soiled a shirt on a doorway with paint while walking into a meeting. Two employees said he stripped off his shirt, tossed it at a member of the housekeeping staff, ordered her to clean it and sat through the meeting bare-chested.
After Jay’s complaint, at least two women filed sexual-harassment complaints against Timmons. Two former employees confirmed one woman complained Timmons grabbed her in the buttocks, and the other complained that he made sexually suggestive remarks while relentlessly insisting she date him. Supervisors reported the incidents to the board.
Even employees of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the government agency that monitored the wellbeing of patients at Hacienda and approved reimbursements, “said Timmons could be abusive toward those who questioned his demands, particularly when it came to getting money from the state,” the Republic reports. According to Former DES director Timothy Jeffries, Timmons threatened that he had connections with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s office and would sue them for looking into Hacienda’s practices. Jeffries launched a criminal investigation into Hacienda, which the state dropped in 2017. Medicaid has since sued the facility for financial records.
Despite launching an investigation into Timmons’s conduct after Jay’s complaint, the Board kept Timmons, who managed four facilities and a foundation, as the CEO. In fact, as of 2015, Timmons earned a salary of $609,000, which “included a $75,000 bonus, $18,777 in retirement and $11,742 in non-taxable benefits.”
“In the wake of Timmons’ resignation, people have raised the question of whether he should have been fired years ago,” Board President Tom Pomeroy said. “While in hindsight it may appear to be an easy call, it was not that simple in the moment.”
“I kept telling them, ‘He will do it again — if not to me, to someone else,’” Jay said. “They chose to continue his service. They chose to keep him. They decided the benefits outweighed the risks.”
Read the full report here.