Showing posts with label Senator John Ford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senator John Ford. Show all posts

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More on Todd Cruse and His Testimony In Sen. John Ford Trial.

I thought I would post this since it gives a little background on just where Todd Cruse (divorced) actually came from and how he ended up at Forba. Something tells me someone on here just might need this info and find it useful.

Todd should be considered as SVP of Smooth Operations.  Since he certainly is a "smooth" operator.  He can almost make you believe what he is saying and buy what he is selling.  But it doesn't take long to smell what he is stepping in either....

Was Todd or Dan DeRose for that matter given some kind of deal to testify against Sen. John Ford?  We will probably never know.  I sure hope that was not the case.

At the time all this went down Don Sundquist was governor of Tenneesee and Toad (...LOL...sorry I mistyped then decided to just leave it,..sorry, Todd) Cruse was a top official in Sundquist's administration.
From Commercial Appeal:
By Richard Locker (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Monday, July 7, 2008
NASHVILLE — NASHVILLE -- The lobbyist for a network of children's dental clinics told jurors this afternoon John Ford was the only Memphis lawmaker he spoke with who would not help his company in its fight with Doral Dental Services to open a clinic in Memphis and that when he asked Ford for help, "He chuckled a bit and said, 'No, they call me Mr. 15 Percent'.''
That exchange between Todd Cruse, a top official in former governor Don Sundquist's administration and later a government relations executive with Forba Dental, occurred in 2003 outside the P.F. Chang's China Bistro in Memphis, Cruse testified.
Prosecutors are trying to prove that Ford used his influence as a powerful member of the state Senate on behalf on Doral Dental Services, with whom he had a consulting arrangement that the government claims paid him more then $400,000, through a firm called Managed Care Consulting Group in which Ford was the lead partner.
Cruse went to work for Forba in January 2003 after the Sundquist administration left office. He first worked on Forba's behalf through a lobbying firm called Public Strategies, and then moved directly to Forba's employment.
Soon after he left state government, Forba became embroiled in a bitter fight with Doral after Doral rejected Forba's efforts to join Doral's network of dental providers across the state that would allow Forba to serve -- and get reimbursed for -- TennCare recipients, primarily children.
That denial, Cruse said, occurred on the day in the spring 2003 that Forba had opened its first Tennessee clinic in Memphis at Knight-Arnold Road and Perkins. That turned out to be the only day it was open, Cruse said, because its business model was to exclusively serve low-income children who were covered by government-paid health insurance programs.
Up until that time, he testified, Forba believed it was en route to being approved by Doral, TennCare's sole contractor to administer dental benefits to TennCare recipients, for inclusion in its network of dental providers. Its dentist and the Memphis facility had been certified by Doral. The only reason Doral gave for the rejection was that its network in Tennessee's urban areas was "adequate."
Cruse said Forba launched a "multi-faceted" campaign to reverse the decision, meeting with black legislators whose constituents were Forba's primary patients, attempting to rally support among ministers and meeting with TennCare officials. That effort included at least two meetings with Ford, in his office and at P.F.Chang's, and a brief conversation in the Legislative Plaza hallway in Nashville.
Cruse said that House Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry, state Rep. John DeBerry, and then-legislators Roscoe Dixon and Kathryn Bowers, all of Memphis, were generally supportive of Forba's efforts. But Ford was not. In the meetings, Ford attempted to lay blame on state TennCare officials rather than Doral.
After the meeting in Ford's office, Cruse testified, he said that Ford's general response was that "the whole situation was silly; it can't be Doral's fault, it was on the back of the TennCare Bureau. It was left open (at that time) whether he would do anything."
But at a later meeting in Memphis, at the restaurant, Cruse said he and other Forba executives told Ford that Forba was seriously considering filing a lawsuit against Doral. "He said it wasn't Doral's problem. It was TennCare's problem," Cruse testified.
Cruse testified the conversation continued as he, Ford and Forba executive Dan DeRose drifted out into Chang's parking lot and Cruse made a last-ditch effort to win the senator's help:
"I said we could really use his help, that the situation was dire. He chuckled a little bit and said, 'No, they call me Mr. 15 Percent."
Cruse testified later under cross examination by Asst. Federal Public Defender Isaiah Gant, Ford's defense attorney, that that remark stood out in his mind. "When a legislator tells you he is known as Mr. 15 Percent, it sticks with you."
Although there was no attempt made to explain the meaning of the statement, Gant attempted to discredit the phrase, getting Cruse to acknowledge that it did not "stick" with him enough for him to report it to authorities. But Cruse said that he had never heard another legislator make such a remark.
In his direct examination by Asst. U.S. Atty. Eli Richardson, Cruse said that at no time did Ford ever let him know that he was doing consulting work for Doral or had any sort of financial arrangement with Doral. He said that would have been good to know as he approached him for help on behalf of Forba, which was fighting Doral.
But under cross examination, Cruse acknowledged that there was no law requiring Ford to notify him that he was working for anyone.
In the final testimony of the day, Doral executive Robert W. Lynn testified how he first learned of his company's consulting contract with Managed Care Services Group -- in late 2004 as Doral was being acquired by DentaQuest Dental Services and Lynn was assigned to assess all of Doral's consulting contracts with an eye toward cutting costs.
Under cross examination, Lynn acknowledged that the firm had consulting contracts for business development in several states and that he was not aware whether Ford's work occurred inside or outside of Tennessee. One of the defense's arguments is that Ford's work was outside of Tennessee, which would apparently not have been illegal.
Under re-direct questioning by Asst. U.S. Atty. David Rivera, Lynn said that to his knowledge, none of the other consulting contracts were with sitting state senators.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dan DeRose Takes the Stand in Ford Trial

by:Marc Perrusquia

NASHVILLE -- Only one or two top executives at a TennCare contracting firm knew details of then-state Sen. John Ford's secret consulting job for the firm, according to witness testimony and documents presented by prosecutors Tuesday.

The closely held secret of Ford's $190,000-a-year job for state contractor Doral Dental began leaking out in late 2004 after the Wisconsin-based firm was sold to its current New England owners.

Ford, 66, is on trial in federal court here on six counts of corruption connected to payments he received from Doral and another state contractor.

Steven Pollock, Doral's current president, testified that he and others found out around the time of the sale that Ford was involved with two partners in Managed Care Services Group, a firm set up to help Doral win a contract with TennCare, Tennessee's expanded Medicaid program.

Doral started paying Managed Care $40,000 a month -- 40 percent of it going to Ford -- weeks after Doral won a lucrative TennCare contract in 2002.

Pollock said he began asking questions in November 2004 when Ford and his two partners traveled to Milwaukee in hopes of saving their Doral consulting deal, which had come under internal review.

"I asked (an employee) to check whether Sen. Ford was a sitting state senator,'' Pollock told jurors.

Asked why he did that, Pollock replied, "Obviously, as a government contractor, there's typically prohibitions (against) working directly with state officials.''

Pollock said Doral eventually terminated Managed Care's consulting contract, but not before the news media began reporting on Ford's connection. Doral severed the contract in February 2005, just a few days after The Commercial Appeal first reported that Ford was receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars through Managed Care -- income he didn't report to state regulators.

Although he was then Doral's general counsel and vice president of market development, Pollock said he didn't know what Managed Care did for the firm. A succession of Doral executives, including senior vice president Robert Lynn and former chief financial officer Lisa Sweeney, testified similarly over the past two days.

Pollock said that two top executives -- Doral founders Craig Kasten and Greg Borca -- had authority to enter consulting agreements. Neither has testified. Testimony on Monday indicated that Managed Care was formed after Ford and Kasten began discussing a potential TennCare contract.

On Tuesday, prosecutors introduced a 2005 spreadsheet listing Doral's consultants that characterized Managed Care as "a political organization, (with) public officials tied to this organization including Senator Ford. ... Greg (Borca) worked out the relationship.''

The spreadsheet went on to say that when a rival firm had threatened to sue Doral, "MCSG intervene(d) and no suit was filed. Well connected and influential.''

The passage appears to be a reference to FORBA, a Colorado-based manager of Medicaid-funded dental clinics for poor children. Two current and former FORBA officials have testified that they built and briefly opened a clinic in Memphis in 2003 but were forced to shut down after Doral would not let them into the TennCare dental network.

Dan DeRose, FORBA's former CEO, testified Tuesday that Ford had tried to discourage him from suing Doral. Echoing testimony from a lobbyist a day earlier, DeRose also said Ford tried to solicit payments from him for his legislative influence.

"He asked me if I knew what his nickname was. I said no. He said, 'They call me Mr. 15Percent,''' DeRose said. Prosecutors asked DeRose if he had asked Ford what he meant by Mr. 15Percent. DeRose responded that he had, saying, "His response was 'I can take care of your problems.'''

DeRose stood his ground when defense attorney Isaiah "Skip" Gant suggested he had made inconsistent statements regarding the Mr. 15Percent comments.

"I'll always remember it,'' DeRose said on redirect. "It was startling. ... I'd never been solicited for money like that.''

The very idea that Dan DeRose is on the witness stand trying to say his hands are clean in this just blows my mind!!!!