Escape to Wisconsin
Perhaps we overreacted when we decided to uproot our family and move back to Wisconsin. But when the case would finally be unsealed, we wanted to have as much distance as possible between us and the Columbia/HCA officials who knew me. Our families still weren't aware of the monster that had consumed our lives since we had moved to Florida four years earlier.
At the time, returning home to Wisconsin seemed like an obvious solution to our dilemma. From the distance and safety of our hometown and surrounded by family, we could brave any storms created by the unsealing of my whistleblower lawsuit, secure in the knowledge that few in Wisconsin knew or cared about Columbia/HCA. The company operated no facilities in Wisconsin. The nearest Columbia/HCA hospitals were located ninety miles south of Milwaukee, in Chicago. News about the ongoing FBI investigation and the looming Tampa criminal trial barely registered on the local media radar.
The offices of my new employer, United Government Services (UGS), were headquartered in the former bottling plant of the Joseph Schlitz Beverage Company, built in the 1850s along the west side of the Milwaukee River. Most of the original brewery had been demolished, but the expansive, three-story bottling plant remained and had been converted into office space and later remodeled in the mid-1980s.
Arriving slightly before 7:00 A.M. on my second day at work, I took the elevator to the third floor and inserted my magnetic employee ID card