Incoming health board tries new legal tactic to halt CHD asset transfer

by: Tyler Graf Incoming CHD Board Member Tammy Maygra — Concerned asset transfer would prohibit a thorough audit.

Members of the incoming Columbia Health District board continue their strategy of filing legal complaints as a way of stalling the current CHD board from disposing the district's assets, but the strategy is not exactly working as planned.

The district's board elect filed a request for a restraining order against the current board last week in Circuit Court. The restraining order is intended to prevent the transfer of the Public Health Authority's Gable Road office to the county.

The request for a restraining order was filed a week after the same group filed a request for injunctive relief against the health district and served the current directors with papers during a board meeting.

'I don't see how [the current board directors] can do anything with an injunction and a restraining order hanging over their heads,' said Tammy Maygra, a member of the incoming CHD board. She added that she and the other incoming directors, who take office July 1, have not been operating under the guidance of an attorney.

So for now, with little more than a week before the board's power is transferred, it's unclear what legal standing the board elect has to file a restraining order. What is known is that it isn't slowing the process down.

Tom Sponsler, special legal counsel for the health district, said the legal maneuvering will not stand in the way of the health district's goal of transferring its assets to the county, the first step in the district's stated goal of dissolving outright in September.

'There are many legal deficiencies with what [the board elect] filed,' Sponsler said, referring to the request for injunctive relief. He has not yet seen the restraining order.

The legal maneuvering comes because Maygra and the incoming board elect are concerned that the transfer of assets will prevent them from performing a thorough accounting of the health district's books.

But there are no plans to prevent a September vote on the district's dissolution, Maygra said. That idea had been floated as a way to give the health district time to perform a proper audit.