Health & Fitness

He was the CFO of bankrupt Merced clinic that closed. Now another clinic hired him

Daniel Kazakos
Daniel Kazakos

The ex-chief financial officer of a defunct Merced health clinic under investigation amid allegations of misconduct has been hired as the CFO of another rural health clinic in California.

Daniel Kazakos was the CFO of Horisons Unlimited Healthcare for about eight months before legal battles erupted in lawsuits, bankruptcy filings, closures and a string of investigations by seven different agencies, including the U.S Department of Justice and the FBI, court documents show.

Kazakos left Horisons earlier this year just weeks before the clinics shuttered. He was hired in October as the CFO at Northeastern Rural Health Clinics, his LinkedIn profile said, which is “the largest provider of outpatient care in Lassen County,” according to the clinic’s website.

When asked about the hiring of Kazakos, officials at Northeastern Rural Health Clinics declined to comment. Kazakos did not respond to messages left at the Lassen County clinic requesting comment.

Horisons on March 3 fired and sued its former CEO, Sandra Haar, accusing her of misconduct that allowed her and her family to profit from the clinic.

The alleged misconduct came to light after Haar went on medical leave in December 2016 and appointed Cylia Estrada as the interim CEO, the suit says. In Haar’s absence, Estrada and Kazakos “discovered several issues of misconduct” and opened an investigation, according to court records.

Three weeks later, Kazakos found himself under fire when a lawsuit was filed in Merced County by members of the governing board alleging Kazakos’ yearly salary tripled in less than a year from about $50,000 when he started to about $150,000 and said he received back pay of more than $13,000.

On May 10, Horisons filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Then on Aug. 1 all eight Horisons clinics abruptly closed their doors in Merced, Stanislaus, Madera and Mariposa counties, citing their “current financial condition,” according to the notice on the Los Banos clinic door.

The closure left thousands of rural-area Valley resident without primary care in a region that is known for not having enough doctors to meet the demand. Many patients struggled to get any information from the bankrupt clinics, including their own medical records.

As the CFO at Horisons, Kazakos oversaw a $12 million budget, his LinkedIn profile said. Horisons saw “tens of thousands of underserved patients throughout the greater Central Valley region,” according to legal documents filed through the U.S Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of California Fresno Division.

Northeastern treats about 50,000 patients a year with an annual budget of $9 million, its website said. Northeastern also is a nonprofit, as was Horisons.

Last year, Kazakos ran unsuccessfully for Merced City Council as a District 3 candidate. Prior to his position at Horisons, Kazakos was the president of Merced Main Street Associations.