Ex-Erlanger interim CEO ousted after reporting inappropriate spending, lawyers say

Board member Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson listens during a budget and finance committee meeting in this file photo.

Every year, Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson said, she would donate to her Erlanger hospital colleague's foundation for Haitian children because "it was a wonderful idea."

But when the former interim chief executive officer realized Erlanger was footing the colleague's travel expenses to Haiti, she reported it to officials in March 2012.

And that's what sparked the conspiracy that ousted Woodard-Thompson from the hospital, her lawyers argued Wednesday during opening statements in Hamilton County Circuit Court.

In her $25 million lawsuit against Erlanger filed in July 2013, Woodard-Thompson, 67, said top officials unfairly passed her over for permanent CEO. In addition to being terminated while on medical leave, Woodard-Thompson alleged top officials called medicine "a white man's world" amid a hasty 2012 search process.

Erlanger called her claims "simply not true."

"Some of the facts suggest that she wanted to retire," Erlanger attorney John Bode told jurors Wednesday.