EDMONTON — A former senior Alberta health executive who came under fire for expense claims that included hiring a butler and fixing his Mercedes Benz says the government wrongly fired him and used him as a scapegoat.
Allaudin Merali, former chief financial officer for Alberta Health Services, makes the allegations in a lawsuit filed against the province and Health Minister Fred Horne.
The suit claims the government knew his expenses were properly incurred and initially supported him.
It alleges officials then suddenly fired him in 2012 and made defamatory remarks about him in the media.
None of the allegations in the claim has been proven in court and the government has not yet filed a statement of defence.
Merali says in press release that he believes he was tossed aside to protect other health executives.
A government audit found that Merali racked up almost $370,000 in what it called questionable expenses.
“My expense claims were spun by the defendants to make me a scapegoat and to distract the media and the public from issues with other AHS executives,” Merali said.
“I was held to a different standard than the one enjoyed by others who have not been made the subject of public ridicule by the government.”
None of the allegations in the claim has been proven in court. The government has not yet filed a statement of defence.