September 17, 2023

Not a bribe, Modesto company’s lawyer says of job offer, $150,000 check for hospital CEO

Addressing a federal judge, a lawyer representing a Modesto-based hospital management company stressed that his client back in May wasn’t trying to “bribe” a Central San Joaquin Valley hospital executive when they handed her a $150,000 check and a job offer amid negotiations.

Hamid Rafatjoo, a partner with Raines Feldman Littrell LLP and lawyer for American Advanced Management Inc., told U.S. Judge René Lastreto II over Zoom in court on Tuesday that his client wasn’t trying to gain competitive advantage in a bidding process to take over operations of bankrupt Madera Community Hospital.

“Obviously, there were better ways of handling that process,” Rafatjoo said, “but it didn’t come from a place of trying to bribe anyone.”

“My client did what it did,” he said, adding that the actions took place before he was retained.

A business law expert contacted by The Bee said there was nothing illegal about the offer, though it looks “irregular” and “awkward” and the circumstances suggest it should have been fully disclosed in bankruptcy court.

Rafatjoo also took the opportunity Tuesday to tell the judge that AAMI’s offer to take over operations of Madera Community Hospital was superior to the current proposed partner and that it

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