The board that oversees Bethania Group says it won’t step down, despite demands from Manitoba’s health minister.

In March, Theresa Oswald called on the board to break a contract with their CEO, which she said was illegal.

The move came after an audit of Bethania Group – which oversees two care homes in Winnipeg: Bethania Group Personal Care Home and Pembina Place Personal Care Home.

The audit found the board allowed its CEO Ray Koop to retire from his $160,000-a-year job, collect a pre-retirement payment worth $80,000, start collecting his pension, then start a new contract in the same job the next day — with a raise.

The audit also found Koop was consulting on the board’s salary decisions, and was the highest paid chief executive of any personal care home in Manitoba.

Oswald said the arrangement violated conflict-of-interest legislation, and the board had until April 2 to terminate the contract with Koop.

The board issued a statement on its website Monday, defending the contract.

The board said it is morally and legally obliged to honour their contract with Koop, and the board is hopeful the dispute with the province can be resolved fairly.