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In a truly shocking development, a Boston GlobeTimes of Malta and OCCRP joint investigation revealed that U.S. healthcare operator Steward, “paid over $7 million to U.K.-based intelligence firms that conducted surveillance and disinformation operations against its critics — and even a Steward employee.”

Steward directed these intelligence firms to target critics of the company’s landlord, the publicly traded Medical Properties Trust (MPW). Hedgeye and financial research group Viceroy Research were among those targeted.

The big question: Why is MPW’s tenant, Steward, funding attacks against MPW’s critics?

Our REITs analyst Rob Simone reviewed the shocking evidence this morning on The Call @ Hedgeye. Rob has worked extensively on uncovering MPW’s highly questionable business practices. The questions Rob has been asking for years about MPW’s practices (and that of Steward) have now escalated to the highest levels of government.

“MPT has – along with Steward – plundered these hospitals,” wrote United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) in a joint statement on April 16, 2024. “[T]hese investments have all the appearances of a Ponzi scheme that is continuing to harm Steward-owned hospitals.”

The Senators continued, “MPT continued to provide capital to Steward, which allowed the hospital system to continue paying rent to MPT,” the senators wrote. “This allowed MPT to avoid devaluing its real estate purchases and the leases that it held, bolster its stock price, and report lucrative cash flows.”

The latest findings by the Boston Globe, Times of Malta and OCCRP merely escalate an already toxic and heartbreaking situation for the American healthcare system. “The appropriate authorities have to get involved here because, again, it’s what should be a safety net hospital company… running spies around the world to follow, snoop on, and harass dissenters. I would just ask why,” said Simone.

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