Showing posts with label FORBA's Todd Cruse on Witness Stand in Sentator Trial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FORBA's Todd Cruse on Witness Stand in Sentator Trial. Show all posts

Monday, April 13, 2009

Todd Cruse Involved In Shady Business While In Sundquist Administration

Todd Cruse is married to Lesa Hensley.  Lesa is daughter of lobbyist Tom Hensley "The Golden Goose" in Tennessee politics.  

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Friends in High Places
E-Mail May Provide Valuable Clues in Contracts Investigation
(Story created: 10/31/03)

First, there were raids. More recently, there's been a parade of witnesses before a federal grand jury investigating state contracts. Now, thousands of e-mails could provide important clues about how the Sundquist administration handled those contracts.

Millions of people communicate every day by e-mail.

So when investigators began investigating contracts handed out by the administration of former Gov. Don Sundquist, they quickly issued a federal grand jury subpoena for thousands of e-mail messages. Included was a demand for messages to and from Sundquist and other top officials.

The probe was prompted by our Friends in High Places investigation

"People put things in e-mails never expecting that they are going to have to explain them," says retired FBI agent Ben Purser.

A sampling of the e-mails provided to the grand jury -- and obtained by NewsChannel 5 -- deal with a request for proposals for computer services. RFPs, as they are called, are supposed to be judged by an impartial selection panel.

"What you are holding in your hands could very well be evidence," Purser tells NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.

For example, there's an August 2002 e-mail from Sundquist's chief administrative officer Todd Cruse.

"When do you anticipate putting together the selection panel," Cruse asks the state's head of information resources. "I have an interest in who we choose."

Cruse would later become a lobbyist for SCB Computer Technology, one of the state's big computer contractors and a bidder for the job.

"Perhaps, and I emphasize perhaps, there could be some influence there," Purser observes.

Cruse, however, tells NewsChannel 5 he was just expressing a naive curiosity about how the process worked.

But that's not how it was taken at the time.

"Honoring his request is simply out of the question," wrote Richard Rognehaugh, then the state's new head of information resources, to Finance Commissioner Warren Neel.

Neel responded, "My guide is and remains.. keep the process clean and above reproach.

That same process was used to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts. Investigators will want to know if there were efforts to stack other selection panels -- and if there were other department heads who were more willing to go along with those efforts.

Cruse's e-mails also hint at pressure from powerful Senate chairman Jerry Cooper relating to a homeland security project.

"I would like to be able to tell Senator Cooper when he calls, again, that I am getting a response out to her by the end of the day," the Sundquist administration official wrote.

The "her" was Cooper's wife, who was lobbyist for a company that wanted in on talks about the contract.

Purser says, "The e-mails that you've shown me would demonstrate the amount of political influence that is being used in a process that is supposed to be void of political influence."

Those e-mails are just a tiny fraction of what the state's computer experts are recovering from computer backups. The grand jury subpoena demands messages from the highest levels of the Sundquist administration.

The subpoena for e-mail records was issued last December. But the state's computer experts say restoring backups has been such a massive chore that they still aren't finished with the job.

"Some of the folks did not appear to be habitual e-mail senders or receivers," Rognehaugh tells Phil Williams.

He says how much evidence that's available for the federal grand jury will depend upon the e-mail habits of the Sundquist administration officials now under scrutiny.

"The federal grand jury in any public corruption investigation is following a paper trail," Purser adds.

In this case, it's not paper -- but a trail of bits and bytes that some probably never realized they were leaving.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

FORBA's Todd Cruse on Witness Stand In Tennessee Senator Trial: No Big Surprise Here

In my opinion Todd Cruse is no better than Senator Ford. I've been trying to tell my readers for months that FORBA, Todd Cruse, Michael DeRose, Doral Dental and the whole bunch associated with FORBA are crooks!

I'm looking forward to other senators to get nailed from doing dirty business with FORBA in the near future.

How many children did Small Smiles/FORBA and Doral Dental, who manages the management of FORBA, abuse to give Senator Ford his 1.7 million dollar cut. Let's see, at $220 per baby root canal that's close to 8,000 teeth just for one senator's payoff.

As you can clearly see, FORBA/Small Smiles just can't seem to keep their asses out of the spot light now can they?

July 8, 2008
Contact Chris Echegaray at 664-2144 or

Former state Sen. John Ford and his business partners were paid roughly $1.7 million in consulting fees from a TennCare contractor, according to a key government witness who testified in federal court on Monday.
Ford, 66, is accused of receiving consulting fees from two TennCare contractors, Memphis-based OmniCare and Wisconsin-based Doral Dental, from 2002 to 2005 while he served as a state senator on the general welfare committee and the TennCare oversight committee.
Ronald Dobbins, a Pennsylvania businessman who was one of Ford's partners in the consulting firm Managed Care Services Group, testified that the Memphis Democrat received 40 percent of the consulting fees from Doral Dental and the other partners got 30 percent.
Dobbins initially worked for United American Health Care, the parent company of OmniCare.
He testified that after leaving the company he created the consulting firm, Managed Care Services Group, in 2001. He said the initial consulting partnership was between Ford and him.
Then he found out that Ford had invited Osbie Howard, the chief executive officer of OmniCare, to join them. Howard handled the money, Dobbins told the jury.
Dobbins testified that he collected around $300,000 from Doral Dental over three years for doing little to no work.
Dobbins testified he had no knowledge of what Ford was doing on Doral's behalf.

'Mr. 15 percent'

Todd Cruse, a lobbyist for Forba, which operates dental centers for low-income children, was trying to get work through TennCare in Tennessee through Doral. Cruse sought out legislators in the districts where the dental centers were being opened, he testified. He sought out members of the black caucus, including Ford.
Cruse testified that after a dinner at a PF Chang's in Memphis, he approached Ford about Forba having a shot to work in the state.
"He chuckled," Cruse said. "And he said, 'They call me Mr. 15 percent.' When a legislator says he's known as Mr. 15 percent, it sorta sticks with you."
In cross-examination, federal public defender Isaiah Gant attacked Cruse for not reporting the 15 percent comment to anyone.
Gant also noted that Dobbins was initially the subject of the investigation into wire fraud. Dobbins received immunity in exchange for his testimony and cooperation with the government.
Ford is charged with two counts of wire fraud and four counts of making false statements on official documents. The wire fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years. The maximum sentence for each of the four other charges is five years.

I would like to say that Todd Cruse may at one time been a Lobbyist for FORBA, I don't know where he crawled in from, but he's now listed as:

Senior Vice President of Development 615-986-1709