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Fmr. Health Dept. head attempts to extort taxpayers for $30,000

"We're not paying Fox a penny," Republican County Commissioner Derek Dieter told RNM

mark fox
Dr. Mark Fox, Former Deputy Health Officer of the St. Joseph County Department of Health

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned Dr. Mark Fox is attempting to shakedown taxpayers to the tune of $30,000. According to sources, the former Deputy Health officer for the St. Joseph County Department of Health has made veiled threats of a lawsuit if he isn’t paid out.

“We’re not paying Fox a penny,” Republican County Commissioner Derek Dieter told RNM.

St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners President Carl Baxmeyer also confirmed Fox’s request.

“I’m on the same page as Derek (Dieter). We’re not planning to pay him (Fox),” Baxmeyer told RNM.

According to Baxmeyer, Fox has not filed a lawsuit yet and never came out saying that he would. However, Fox does have 10 years to file one. And, Fox was adamant in his statements that he is owed $30,000 to pay out his old contract.

The attempted shakedown comes after Dr. Fox’s position within the Department of Health was recently eliminated. In a bipartisan 6-3 vote, the St. Joseph County Council officially axed the Deputy Health Officer position from the St. Joseph County Department of Health last month following recommendations from the Board of Health as part of a new organizational chart.

In June, the Board of Health and County Council also approved Dr. Diana Purushotham to become the new Health Officer. She will be working in a full-time role, unlike the previous Health Officer, and will be getting paid more because of that. Getting rid of Fox’s role will help pay for her increased salary. Former Health Officer Dr. Robert Einterz’ contract was for 30 hours per week at a salary of approximately $146,000. Fox’s contract was for 10 hours per week at a salary of more than $50,000 per year.

RNM is working to get our hands on Fox’s contract to see exactly what claims he could make if he decides to pursue legal action. Sources tell us there are clauses based on funding and position elimination that would make any lawsuit tough for the former public health official. However, RNM has not been able to independently confirm that information and neither Commissioners Baxmeyer or Dieter would comment on what is contained in the contract.


St. Joseph County is currently being sued by a local business due to the actions of Dr. Fox. The lawsuit followed an RNM investigation that uncovered text messages between local reporters and Dr. Fox during COVID showing what appears to be a coordinated attack of a South Bend business that happens to be owned by a vocal conservative. The story, along with connected investigations, led to a massive lawsuit against the county.

According to an article by the South Bend Tribune during COVID lockdowns, the health department’s actions caused the shuttering of at least 60 local businesses.

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