Miami-Dade County

Camillus House puts CEO on leave amid rift with leadership

Camillus House CEO Shed Boren, in the black shirt, kneels down to talk to Amos Moss as Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Steve Leifman (rear, in white shirt) gives a tour of a site for a new mental-health facility in Miami in this 2014 file photo.
Camillus House CEO Shed Boren, in the black shirt, kneels down to talk to Amos Moss as Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Steve Leifman (rear, in white shirt) gives a tour of a site for a new mental-health facility in Miami in this 2014 file photo. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Camillus House tapped outside lawyers for an internal investigation while placing its CEO on leave amid a massive rift among leaders of one of Miami-Dade’s largest provider of services to the homeless.

CEO Shed Boren was placed on leave Friday after being accused of creating a “hostile work environment” at the non-profit, according to a confidential email sent to the non-profit’s board on Saturday. Bob Dickinson, the board chairman, wrote that in the course of the investigation into Boren’s management practices “other serious allegations have surfaced.” It wasn’t clear if those allegations were against Boren or others; Dickinson did not reply to a request for comment.

The email followed a Miami Herald report Friday disclosing Boren’s temporary ouster from control of Camillus House, which was not revealed to board members. Camillus is part of the Catholic ministry called the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God, and Dickinson wrote it was that organization’s executive committee that made the decision on Boren’s leave.

The Herald quoted Boren saying a falling out with Dickinson, a top Camillus House donor, was the cause of the rift.

“I am saddened to hear that what is going on at Camillus right now has become public fodder,” said Boren, 51, a former hospital administrator appointed to the top Camillus job in early 2015. “I have had some disagreements with Bob Dickinson about the focus of the organization. But we are both committed to the cause of helping the poor and the homeless.

“At this time, I have been working with members of the board, the brothers and the leadership to find ways to resolve our differences so we can be focused on service to the most needy among us,” he said.

Boren remains on the job as CEO of the Catholic non-profit’s medical arm, Camillus Health, said Sam Gil, vice president of marketing. Gil said Camillus House’s volunteer leadership was concerned about the way Boren ran the non-profit but did not provide details.

“There are some divergent opinions as far as Shed and his management style, and the direction he’s going, and that of the board of directors,” Gil said.

In his email, Dickinson, a former CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, criticized Boren for talking publicly about the dispute, which was first confirmed by Gil’s statement Friday night.

“We had intended to keep this matter private until the investigation was completed,” Dickinson wrote in email with the subject line “CONFIDENTIAL - INTERNAL CAMILLUS HOUSE BOARD DOCUMENT. “Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. Boren has taken it upon himself to broadcast his version of events in many parts of the community through social media and other communications.”.

After the Camillus House turmoil became public Friday evening, Boren posted a note on his Facebook page that read in part: “I love my job. This is a horrible setback, and I must have faith that the truth will prevail…I did not want this to become public, but obviously someone else did. Pray for us at Camillus.”

Boren went on leave from Camillus House Friday, Gil said. As CEO, Boren expanded psychiatric services, created a 16-bed shelter customized for victims of human trafficking, and built a program to provide treatment for offenders as an alternative to jail.

The developments exposed extraordinary division at one of Miami’s most prominent charities. Camillus provides shelter and services to more than 12,000 people a year with a staff of about 220 people. Camillus House offers 1,300 beds for the homeless. It reported $20 million in revenue last year, with about half through government grants and the rest through donations, according to the most recent financial statement of Camillus House.

Miami-Dade Judge Steven Leifman, a leading advocate for social services in the county, released a statement backing Boren late Friday.

“Shed has done an absolutely remarkable job at Camillus — he has elevated their programs to new heights,” Leifman wrote after the Herald asked for a comment. “I’m extremely disappointed to hear about this dispute. It would be a huge loss to the community if he were to leave. It would be a big mistake for their Board to let him go.”