Zurik: O Brother! Richard Reed's work questioned - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Lee Zurik Investigation: O Brother! Richard Reed's work questioned


Emails obtained by FOX 8 News raise questions about why St. Tammany Parish Hospital hired the brother of District Attorney Walter Reed.

Last week, we showed you Richard Reed worked at the hospital as a clerk. Now, the emails we've obtained raise new questions about why he got the job.

The emails show that, after Richard Reed resigned his position less than two weeks ago, hospital administrators and employees discussed hiring his "replacement."

Reed was working 40 hours a week as a mail clerk. But according to the emails, the "real need is 20."

Hospital vice-president Jean Holtman wrote, "I would recommend that we make it a 40-hour position just to show that Richard's position was needed."

The hospital's chief financial officer, Tim Lessing, replied, "What am I missing? If you only need 20 why would we fill as full?"

Holtman responded last Wednesday morning, "I am more concerned it is more obvious that STPH made a position for Richard. This may not be the best light for our hospital to be seen in."

The emails, given to FOX 8 by a source, are not the only ones that raise questions about the hiring and employment of the district attorney's brother.

These show the hospital moved Richard Reed to the mail clerk position around March. He had been at the hospital in other positions for at least a decade. Before that move to the mail room, hospital managers spent a few months in the winter trying to find him a new position.

In February, they looked into sending him to "food service." But the hospital's CFO wrote, "The only thing he could do in dietary would be to roll silverware. Patti already told me that was not an option." A source says "Patti" refers to Patti Ellish, the hospital's president and CEO.

The CFO went on to write, "Put him in a corner somewhere till u and I meet to discuss further options."

Richard Reed moved to the mail room, and an email includes notes from an April meeting indicating that he "has been going around saying that he has the easiest job in the hospital. That may be true, but you need to tell him not to talk about it."

So, did Walter Reed's position in the parish and hospital help his brother get and keep that job? Walter Reed had a side job for at least 15 years as an attorney for the hospital. That deal is now under federal investigation, as is the long-time district attorney himself.

His brother Richard has resigned his position from the hospital; his last day is Friday, June 27. It appears he still has another job, though - according to a local funeral home, he's also been serving as their funeral director. But it's his position at a local hospital that raises more questions with us.

Another email includes notes from another meeting that show a hospital administrator told another employee this about Richard Reed: "I know that there is nothing for him to do, but put him on the receiving dock. Anything. Put him anywhere. Pushing a cart. Licking stamps. Birdwatching."

When we sought comment on this story from the hospital, CEO Ellish emailed us this brief response:

Lee, With regard to your request below, please be advised that all personnel matters are confidential and private and as such are not subject to public comment.

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