Miami-Dade County

Jackson Health System executive faces DUI charges

The chief financial officer of Miami-Dade County’s public hospital system has a court hearing next month on drunken-driving charges in Broward County.

Mark Knight, 51, CFO of Jackson Health System, has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges stemming from an October arrest.

A Broward Sheriff’s Office DUI Task Force deputy said he found Knight asleep behind the wheel of his 2008 Mercedes-Benz sedan at 2:24 a.m. Oct. 27. According to an arrest report, breath tests revealed Knight’s blood alcohol content to be .224 and .231 percent. Florida’s legal limit is .08 percent.

The arrest came two years to the day after Knight was hired as the CFO of Jackson, the county’s taxpayer-funded hospital network. He receives a salary of $340,000, plus about another $120,000 in benefits.

Knight told Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya about the arrest the day after it happened, a Jackson spokesman said. Knight declined to comment to the Miami Herald; attempts to contact his attorney, Jeffrey Harris, were unsuccessful. Knight is scheduled for a Sept. 19 hearing in Broward County court.

“Mark Knight is a tireless public servant who has been instrumental in Jackson Health System’s turnaround, and he immediately reported this incident to me in accordance with our policies and personal professional standards,” Migoya said in a statement. “We are all certainly aware of the grave risks presented by impaired driving, and I respect Mark’s private decisions to address the legal and personal issues in an appropriate manner.”

According to the arrest report, Knight was sleeping in the driver’s seat of his car outside Apple Health Spa at 5154 N. Federal Hwy. in Fort Lauderdale with the car’s engine running and lights on.

Deputy David Faccini tried to rouse Knight by knocking on the windshield but Knight woke up only after Faccini started bouncing the car up and down by sitting on the hood, the deputy wrote. Faccini noted that Knight’s eyes were bloodshot, he was slurring his words, and he smelled of alcohol.

While Knight allegedly struggled through field-sobriety tests, he “asked for his phone because he wanted to call his boss, and stated that it was the sheriff,” Faccini wrote in the arrest report. Faccini found Knight’s employee ID card in the car, and Knight “demanded that I place it back inside because it was ‘irrelevant,’ ” the deputy wrote.

Knight also was arrested in July 2001 on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, records show. In that case, police stopped him at 2:29 a.m. in the 2000 block of East Oakland Park Boulevard in Oakland Park. The outcome of that case is unclear.

Before joining Jackson, Knight worked as CFO of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged, and the North Broward Hospital District, which is now Broward Health.