- Tomas Bravo / Reuters
- New York College of Podiatric Medicine, a college that focuses on foot problems, has booked a commencement speaker who was terminated from 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 Bakotic’s background and was “shocked” to hear about them.
A medical college that boast an affiliation with Columbia University has booked a commencement speaker who was terminated from his position 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 his past.
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. As part of that deal, Bakotic received $30.4 million at the time, while his co-founder Joseph Hackel got $14.4 million.
In September 2017, Bakotic was terminated from his company following an investigation of accusations of sexual harassment allegations, engaging in a sexual relationship with subordinates at the company, use of illicit drugs, and battery of an employee, according to court documents. An investigation conducted by law firm Latham and Watkins verified those claims.
A representative from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine declined to comment when asked if the school was aware of Bakotic’s background 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.
“Your conduct has now created a hostile work environment fraught with violence, and the sexual harassment of workers,” lawyers representing one of the employees alleging sexual harassment wrote in a letter addressed to Bakotic in July 2017. Details about Bakotic’s termination 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.