The state attorney general is using FBI documents, which report CNSI owners threatening to kill a witness in another case, as part of the state’s effort to postpone a lawsuit challenging the Jindal administration’s firing of the company that held Louisiana’s largest private contract.
CNSI attorney Lewis Unglesby said Thursday that the FBI reports have nothing to do with the Louisiana case and said the information in the FBI reports has been discredited.
“It has nothing to do with any legitimate argument about CNSI. It’s not accurate and they should know that,” he said.
A state district judge set a hearing Monday in Baton Rouge to sort out the competing allegations.
A lawyer for the state attorney general says CNSI’s civil lawsuit needs to be delayed to protect documents and to establish witness testimony as part of its criminal investigation into how Client Network Services Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., won a $200 million contract to process Medicaid claims.
Unglesby says CNSI did nothing wrong and wants to show that in court as soon as possible.
The state attorney general filed the FBI reports under court seal related to alleged witness tampering by CNSI officials in Maryland.
A motion filed to support its effort to delay CNSI’s civil lawsuit includes a general description of the reports’ contents, which the motion argues are “highly relevant” to the attorney general’s investigation.
Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell, who heads the office’s public corruption and special prosecutions unit, said the FBI case is closed but the information developed in it is relevant.
“It doesn’t mean they are innocent,” said Caldwell.
Caldwell said CNSI has been complaining it has not had an opportunity to review the documents so the state is providing the opportunity for CNSI to have them unsealed.
“We are saying if you want to air all this dirty laundry, here you go. There are threats to kill witnesses,” Caldwell said. “The onus is on them.”
The state’s motion, which cites the FBI reports, says, “According to the FBI report in this court’s possession, one of CNSI’s owners, in front of the other three owners, said if the employee ‘ever disclosed the misconduct at the company they would have him killed.’
“Multiple employees have come forward and alleged that CNSI has threatened them regarding revealing criminal conduct ... The FBI reports contain many additional allegations of criminal and fraudulent conduct not summarized here. Much of this report has been corroborated of other evidence held by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.”
The motion filed in advance of the Monday hearing does not identify those CNSI officials making the threats or employees who made the allegations.
No charges were filed as a result of the FBI investigation.
Unglesby, representing CNSI, called the information bunk.
“It has nothing to do with Louisiana or this decade,” Unglesby said.
The Jindal administration canceled the nearly $200 million contract with Client Network Services Inc. earlier this year citing improprieties.
The cancellation came after news broke of a federal grand jury investigation into the contract’s award. A short time later, Bruce Greenstein, who had worked for CNSI, left the state’s health chief job under a cloud of suspicion.
CNSI filed suit against the state for wrongful contract termination. Greenstein has denied any wrongdoing.
19th Judicial District Court Judge Tim Kelley initially rejected the state’s move to delay CNSI’s civil lawsuit.
Then, the Attorney General’s Office appealed and showed Kelley documents to bolster its argument that the civil proceedings could interfere with its investigation.
CNSI attorneys objected telling Kelley that they had not been apprised of the confidential information submitted to him.
Kelley then rule that the lawsuit could proceed. Now, the state is back in court Monday trying to block it again.
“They have complained they have not had a full and fair forum. ... Let’s have it out on Monday,” said Caldwell. “If they have not done anything and they want to get it out in the open let’s hear it.”
CNSI Louisiana spokesman Sonny Cranch said “This will be addressed in court on Monday and that’s the appropriate venue.”