Embattled mental health agency Cardinal Innovations, under fire for recent million-dollar severances, has paid millions more in severance than previously reported.
Cardinal has paid $6.1 million in severance in the past three years, including nearly $52,000 to a state senator.
In November, Cardinal paid $3.8 million of the $6.1 million to ousted CEO Richard Topping and three other departing executive managers. Lawmakers Tuesday urged the state to try to recoup the money from Topping and the others.
Topping received a $1.7 million payout. The other recent payouts went to former chief information officer Pete Murphy, who received $740,000; former chief operating officer Will Woodell, who received $690,000; and former chief medical officer Ranota Hall, who received $684,000.
The payouts prompted the state Department of Health and Human Services to take over the agency on Nov. 27 and oust the former board of directors.
In response to a request from the Observer, a Cardinal spokeswoman disclosed the additional severance payments. That included $51,940 to Sen. Joel Ford in October and $150,000 to former CFO Victor Fields, who got $150,000. Fields is a former Charlotte Observer executive who left Cardinal in 2016.
Ford became vice president of Cardinal last year at a salary of $150,000 and stepped down this fall. He lost September’s Democratic primary for Charlotte mayor. He could not be immediately reached Tuesday.
Cardinal offers services for people with disabilities, mental health needs and substance abuse in 20 North Carolina counties, including Mecklenburg.
In October, a DHHS auditor released a 17-page report that criticized Cardinal’s severance packages for being provided for longer than similar entities and offering severance pay to 10 employees other than the CEO.
A total of 68 employees got the severance packages, according to the Cardinal spokeswoman.