David Conejo, the former CEO of Gallup, N.M.-based Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital is suing the hospital, accusing his former employer of breaching a management contract with his company and purposefully promoting false and misleading information about the company.
The lawsuit, filed July 23 in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., alleges breach of good faith and fair dealing for violation of the contract for hospital operations with Mr. Conejo’s company, Health Care Integrity. Defendants in the case include seven hospital staff members, including the CMO and chief nursing officer, and one former staff member.
The lawsuit comes after a group of hospital physicians and others sent a letter to the hospital board in May alleging that Mr. Conejo’s mismanagement during the COVID-19 pandemic led to staffing shortages. The hospital board fired Mr. Conejo’s company June 11.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Conejo says, in part, that the hospital defamed his company by publishing false statements on the internet “to damage the business interests and reputation of HCI before the board of trustees and in the public eye in order to induce the board of trustees to wrongfully terminate the management agreement.”
He also alleges the board intentionally breached the contract by prematurely firing him and that there was a conspiracy surrounding the hospital’s decision to fire him.
Mr. Conejo seeks reimbursement for compensatory damages, including attorney fees and costs, as well as out-of-pocket expenses.
Becker’s reached out to the hospital for comment and will post additional details if available.
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