Jindal administration lawyers tried to dissuade former state health chief Bruce Greenstein from testifying in a case involving CNSI’s firing as the state’s Medicaid claims processor, according to an attorney for the Maryland firm.
“They did whatever they needed to do to convince him not to come,” CNSI attorney Lewis Unglesby said.
Greenstein refused and was questioned under oath Tuesday in Client Network Services Inc.’s lawsuit seeking damages for wrongful termination of the nearly $200 million contract.
“He’s a strong person of obvious integrity and did the right thing,” Unglesby said. “They fought him in the court system. They fought him outside the court system. They did not want the story told and that’s hard really to grasp.”
The Governor’s Office private legal counsel Jimmy Faircloth denied Unglesby’s claim. “This is Lewis trying to make an issue out of something that is really not an issue,” Faircloth said Thursday.
Faircloth said he spoke to Greenstein’s attorney John McLindon inquiring why his client would want to give a deposition at this point in the procedure.
“I thought that was an unusual approach,” he said. He said he never talked directly to Greenstein.
McLindon said in advance of his client’s deposition he got telephone calls from two attorneys working for the state.
“I got the distinct impression that the state did not want the deposition to go down,” said McLindon.
Greenstein traveled from his Seattle home to Baton Rouge, where he answered questions under oath from CNSI and state attorneys during a day-long deposition at McLindon’s office.
The administration fired CNSI earlier this year when news broke of a federal investigation into the contract’s award. Greenstein left the top health job a short time later as allegations were leveled of improper communication between himself and CNSI, where he had previously worked.
In its firing of CNSI, the administration cited a Louisiana law that allows “If the person awarded the contract has acted fraudulently or in bad faith, the contract shall be declared null and void.”
Judge Tim Kelley, of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, rejected Jindal administration lawyers’ attempt to stop Greenstein from testifying and the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal upheld that decision. At the time, McLindon said his client had no problem giving a deposition “so he can tell the story and clear his name.”
Unglesby said state attorneys also tried outside of court to convince Greenstein not to testify.
“He came here on his own from Seattle to say that everything he did was legal, above-board, proper and smart,” Unglesby said.
More than 60 people were involved in the evaluation and grading of the proposals from four firms seeking the business.
“Greenstein didn’t select any of them nor did he know who they were or what team they were selected to,” said Unglesby. In addition, he said the solicitation for proposals was crafted by an outside contractor outside of state government control.
“The sad thing is nobody in state government to this day ever asked him for his side of the story or any questions at all,” Unglesby said.
Faircloth said Greenstein’s deposition went “fairly well under the circumstances. It’s unfortunate circumstances.”
Faircloth said Greenstein’s testimony supported the position taken by the state. “Now Unglesby is trying to create some sort of side show,” he said, “a distraction away from the evidence.”