UPDATE: A business owner left his company after sexual harassment and drug allegations is now giving a medical school commencement speech

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Tomas Bravo / Reuters

  • New York College of Podiatric Medicine, a college that focuses on foot problems, has booked a commencement speaker who left the company he founded in 2017.
  • The speaker, Bradley Bakotic, faced allegations of sexual harassment, use of illicit drugs, and battery.
  • A member of the college’s board of trustees said he was unaware of allegations against Bakotic and was “shocked” to hear about them.

UPDATE: June 18, 2018. This article was previously updated after publication in May 2018. It is also updated below and now includes the statement from Dr. Bakotic at the end of this article.

The original version of the story included the counterclaim’s reference to a Latham & Watkins (L&W) investigation and stated it “verified” the September 2017 claims. The counterclaim does not say that L&W verified claims; it says L&W counsel reached factual conclusions and lists them. These listed factual conclusions do not include sexual harassment. The original story reported that Dr. Bakotic was fired. The counterclaim alleges that he was terminated as CEO and subsequently resigned from the board of directors. Dr. Bakotic disputes the characterization of his removal as a termination, though he does not dispute that he was removed as CEO on September 8, 2017. While the counterclaim alleges that Dr. Bakotic received a sum certain in connection with the sale of a stake in Bako Diagnostics, Dr. Bakotic denies this. This sentence is not included in the updated story. The original story referred to a letter from lawyers representing one of the employees alleging sexual harassment. There is only one employee referenced in the counterclaim as having alleged sexual harassment (referred to as “Jane Doe”). The updated article no longer includes a quote from this letter. A reference to Dr. Bakotic’s “past” and two references to Dr. Bakotic’s “background” were changed to “allegations.”

A medical college that boast an affiliation with Columbia University has booked a commencement speaker who left his role as CEO in 2017 amid sexual harassment allegations.

Bradley Bakotic, a podiatrist who founded a lab-testing company, is slated to give the keynote address and receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree at The New York College of Podiatric Medicine’s commencement ceremony in late May.

But Bakotic’s presence at the school, which graduates 25% of all practicing podiatrists, may raise some eyebrows, given allegations he has faced.

Bakotic is a founder of Bako Diagnostics, a company that does lab testing for podiatry practices. Private equity firm Consonance Capital Partners took a big stake in his company in 2016.

According to allegations in a counterclaim filed in a lawsuit in which Bakotic is a party, in September 2017, Mr. Bakotic left the company following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with subordinates at the company, use of illicit drugs, and battery of an employee.

A representative from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine declined to comment when asked if the school was aware of allegations against Bakotic when he was asked to speak at commencement.

Keith Greathouse, a member of the school’s board of trustees, told Business Insider he was unaware of allegations made against Bakotic. Greathouse said he was “shocked” to hear about the claims and said he would look into the matter.

Bakotic could not be reached for comment when contacted through e-mail, his foundation and LinkedIn.

Details of the allegations came as part of ongoing litigation between Bakotic and Bako Diagnostics over a noncompete agreement.

A few months later, Bakotic and Hackel created a foundation, the “Rhett Foundation for the Advancement of Podiatric Medical Education,” named after Bakotic’s dog. Through the foundation, Bakotic provided the NYCPM with $200,000 in grants, and has funded Temple University as well.