© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Ousted Cardinal CEO Sues For Libel

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare


The ousted Cardinal Innovations Healthcare CEO is now suing the behavioral health care organization, saying its public statements ruined his reputation. 

Richard Topping filed the lawsuit Tuesday. Topping claims Cardinal's public statements that he took company information for his personal use, took steps to boost his pay and severance, and misinformed board members, are misleading or false. An investigator for Cardinal presented this information to the press in March which detailed Topping’s conversations with other executives about taking data from Cardinal servers and deleting calls and texts the state told him to save.

The investigator's information was the basis for a lawsuit against Topping to recoup the $1.7 million he was paid in severance. That severance and salary were the reason for the surprise November takeover by the state health department. Cardinal is a public organization that handles payments for Medicaid and uninsured patients in Mecklenburg and 19 other counties.

Topping’s countersuit claims Cardinal defamed him and damaged his reputation so severely he hasn’t been able to get a new job and has been asked to step down from charities. He’s asking for at least $75,000. Cardinal denies Topping’s allegations, calling them baseless. Topping declined to be interviewed.  

Stay informed: Sign up for The Frequency newsletter and get WFAE headlines in your inbox every weekday.