The county released an employee health care report it fought for months to keep confidential.
The doctor who successfully sued to make the report public says he's troubled by why the county wanted to keep it a secret.
And, county leaders still aren't talking.
"The reason I filed the lawsuit is we have a culture of corruption. That's number one. And, number two, we have a lot of decisions being made behind closed doors out of public disclosure." Dr. Donald Cornforth says he's fed up with county government, bothered
by the Board of Supervisors who, he says, are making backroom decisions.
It's a concern shared by the head of the Kern Taxpayers Association.
"I do not trust the government, and I'm trusting the county less by the day. I mean, it's just why would you do this?," said Mike Turnipseed, Kern Taxpayers Association.
Cornforth fought for the release of the report on Managed Care Systems.
MCS is paid by taxpayers to decide where county employees are sent for their medical care.
But, MCS's parent company also owns Mercy and Memorial Hospitals.
The report examined whether there was a conflict of interest, a financial incentive for MCS to steer patients to those facilities.
County lawyers fought the report's release, saying it was a draft. Drafts are exempt from release under the California Public Records Act.
But, the report wasn't labeled a draft in its first version. It got that title as critics began calling for it to be made public.
"The county went to such lengths, the supervisors went to such lengths to bury them," said Cornforth.
County Administrative Officer John Nilon declined to comment Thursday, as did Supervisor Ray Watson, calling it a legal matter.
Three other supervisors -- Karen Goh, John McQuiston, and Mike Maggard did not return our calls for comment.
County lawyer Devon Brown also declined to talk to 17 News on camera, but told us by phone the report centered on labor negotiations, and that's why the document shouldn't have been released.
But, in a letter to MCS executives months before the report was complete, John Nilon never mentioned labor negotiations. Instead, he urged MCS to cooperate with the auditors who were trying to ensure there was no conflict of interest.
So, what does the report show?
Mercy and Memorial Hospitals, the Dignity-owned hospitals, received a marked increase in patient money during the first six months of 2011.
San Joaquin Community Hospital also saw a bump in patent volume under MCS, mostly because it merged with Dr. Cornforth's Quest Medical Imaging Company.
The study says the county-owned Kern Medical Center experienced a 13 percent drop in MCS patient expenditures, but the study doesn't spell out why.
MCS released this statement Thursday, which reads: "We continue to stand by our original statement that no conflict of interest existed as the county's third party administrator, that we continue to save the County of Kern millions of dollars, and that we have always acted in the best interest of the County of kern."
Late Thursday afternoon, we received this response from Board of Supervisors Chairman Zack Scrivner, : "The county considered the report to be privileged under evidence code 1040 (official information privilege) and also because the report included information that reflected analyses, conclusions, and recommendations that bore on county's position on issues subject to mandatory collective bargaining. Based on information available to us thus far from multiple sources, we are not able to conclude that MCS has acted contrary to the best interests of the county's employees."