Dr. Mark Essak and 5 other Cobourg doctors who make up the Board of the Northumberland Family Health Team are being sued for $900,000 plus costs in an action filed with the Superior Court of Justice in Cobourg on Wednesday. Laura Yontz claims she was wrongfully fired as Executive Director of the Family Health Team when she tried to bring financial wrongdoing by Dr. Essac and staff members to the Board. In her Statement of Claim, Laura Yontz states, among other things, that the Family Health Team administration was misusing funds provided by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care by allowing staff persons to bill separately as consultants for work they should have been doing as hired employees. Staff members bought televisions charged to the Health Team and eventually paid for by Ministry dollars used by the staff in their private residences. Dr. Essak himself is said to have grossly inflated the rental costs allowed by the Ministry.
Dr. Essak urged Yontz not to make the financial irregularities known at a Board meeting and when she attempted to do so, Yontz was dismissed without cause.
None of these allegations has been proven in Court. The defendants include Doctors Mark Essac, Rina Daskalopolous,Kathy Barnard-Thompson, Emma Smith, Michael Bayer, Michael Jones and the Northumberland Family Health Team. Once the parties are served with the Claim, they each have 30 days to file a response.