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Desai's Kickbacks, Lavish Lifestyle Described

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Three of Universal Health Care's top executives -- including president and CEO Dr. A.K. Desai -- required that vendors provide the men with lucrative personal deals on the side before signing contracts, an attorney for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee told the  judge at a hearing covered by the Tampa Bay Times.

Bankruptcy trustee attorney Denise Barnett said Desai, his sales manager and former general counsel all got "side deals" such as stock options or board seats with companies that sought contracts with Universal, the Medicare and Medicaid managed-care company that went belly-up about six months ago.

Desai told the Times via e-mail that he signed no agreements and wasn't aware of any.

The trustee's office hired a Miami law firm to coordinate with federal prosecutors any possible criminal charges, the Times reported. 

The Times article details the upscale design and trappings of a corporate condo that Desai and his wife used on weekends so that they could walk to downtown events in St. Petersburg.

The article also discusses accusations from a bank that was Universal's  major creditor that Desai had financial interests in an Indian company that had the contract for processing claims.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.