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.

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