Nathan wants judge to re­view dis­puted doc­u­ments

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY BEN NUCK­OLS

The D.C. at­tor­ney gen­eral wants a fed­eral judge to de­cide whether fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors can ex­am­ine doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to a $7.5 mil­lion set­tle­ment be­tween the Dis­trict and its for­mer Med­i­caid con­trac­tor.

Thurs­day’s of­fer from At­tor­ney Gen­eral Irvin B. Nathan came a day af­ter U.S. At­tor­ney Ron­ald C. Machen Jr. took the rare step of pub­licly crit­i­ciz­ing Mr. Nathan for re­fus­ing to turn over the doc­u­ments.

Mr. Nathan claims they are pro­tected by at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege and that they con­tain noth­ing in­crim­i­nat­ing.

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors are look­ing into the set­tle­ment as part of their wide-rang­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion of cor­rup­tion in city pol­i­tics.

The Dis­trict’s for­mer Med­i­caid con­trac­tor, Jef­frey E. Thomp­son, is the sub­ject of a grand jury in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Mr. Thomp­son, who has not been charged with a crime, is sus­pected of fun­nel­ing $653,000 in il­licit funds into Mayor Vin­cent C. Gray’s 2010 cam­paign.

While he is not named in court doc­u­ments as the sus­pected source of the funds, he has been iden­ti­fied in open court and by at­tor­neys for his as­so­ci­ates. Sev­eral of his as­so­ci­ates have pleaded guilty to felonies — some for their in­volve­ment in what pros­e­cu­tors called the “shadow cam­paign” for Mr. Gray, oth­ers for mak­ing straw con­tri­bu­tions on Mr. Thomp­son’s be­half to can­di­dates for lo­cal and fed­eral of­fice.

In April 2011, less than four months af­ter Mr. Gray took of­fice, Mr. Thomp­son in­formed the city’s Depart­ment of Health Care Fi­nance that his firm had not been ad­e­quately re­im­bursed for the rates it was pay­ing to chil­dren’s den­tal providers.

The depart­ment re­viewed the claim and de­ter­mined that the rates were too high, di­rec­tor Wayne Tur­nage said. Mr. Thomp­son agreed to set­tle for $7.5 mil­lion and drop a pend­ing law­suit.

Mr. Nathan, who was ap­pointed by Mr. Gray, said in a let­ter to Mr. Machen that his of­fice has al­ready pro­duced nearly 20,000 doc­u­ments re­lated to the fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Mr. Gray’s 2010 cam­paign.

He said that there was no wrong­do­ing in the set­tle­ment with Mr. Thomp­son’s now-de­funct D.C. Char­tered Health Plan, and that the doc­u­ments Mr. Machen is seek­ing are rou­tine com­mu­ni­ca­tions that are pro­tected by at­tor­ney-client and other le­gal priv­i­leges.

Mr. Nathan said he would vol­un­tar­ily re­lease the doc­u­ments if pros­e­cu­tors can “show or de­scribe … a sin­gle scin­tilla of ev­i­dence that any per­son in the Dis­trict gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted or fa­cil­i­tated an ar­guably il­le­gal act in con­nec­tion with the dis­trict’s 2011 set­tle­ment with Char­tered.”

Mr. Nathan of­fered to turn over the dis­puted doc­u­ments to the chief judge of the city’s U.S. Dis­trict Court, who would re­view them to de­ter­mine whether at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege ap­plies. He said it was his third of­fer to re­solve the dis­pute over the doc­u­ments.

Mr. Machen’s of­fice did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to the pro­posal.

WASH­ING­TON TIMES

D.C. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Irvin B. Nathan says doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to a $7.5 mil­lion set­tle­ment be­tween the Dis­trict and its Med­i­caid con­trac­tor are pro­tected by at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege.

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