Officials with Alberta Health Services announced Friday that the health authority had reached an agreement with a former Chief Financial Officer.
AHS and the Alberta government said a joint settlement agreement had been reached in connection to litigation started by Allaudin Merali, arising from his termination from AHS in 2012.
The dispute started in August, 2012, when $370,000 of expenses from Merali became public – the records outlined costs ranging from $3,000 dinners to butler services, and grocery bills.
Most of the expenses were approved by senior staff at the time, but Merali was fired – and AHS vowed he would not receive severance pay.
However, Merali filed a $6 million defamation lawsuit and then-Health Minister Fred Horne.
On Friday, current Health Minister Stephen Mandel released a statement saying:
“On the recommendation of legal counsel, government has participated in a settlement that is believed to offer the least possible burden to taxpayers.”
AHS admitted Friday Merali had been fired without cause.
“AHS is satisfied that the termination of Mr. Merali’s employment is properly characterized as having been without cause.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation told CTV News Friday that officials should have fought Merali.
“I think they should’ve fought this guy every step of the way in the courts,” Derek Fildebrandt said. “If he really wants to take more money from taxpayers he’s going to have to pry it out of our hands.”
Merali will be paid $900,000, of that, $600,000 is coming from Alberta Health Services, and $300,000 is coming from the provincial government’s Risk Management Fund.
With files from Dan Grummett