COURTS WON’T STOP SMELLY CITY HALL HEALTH INSURANCE DEAL – AT LEAST NOT YET
A court hearing has been scheduled for early April to hash out the latest funny business coming out of Mayor Turner’s City Hall.
For now, State District Judge Steven Kirkland chose not to get involved, clearing the way for the City of Houston to open enrollment Monday morning for the new CIGNA health insurance plan for forty thousand City of Houston employee’s families.
A Houston tax payer cried foul on the huge new contract, claiming the Mayor stacked the cards for CIGNA in a health insurance contract that will cost taxpayers millions more than it needed to. That taxpayer is also Vice President of United Health Care, the company calling the Mayor out.
One of the allegations is that CIGNA was given information about medical claims that United wasn’t given and that only CIGNA got to make a final best offer.
But why would city hall ever play favorites? Isn’t it supposed to be what’s in the best interest of taxpayers and city employees and their families?
Getting the health care contract right is important. More than $400 million in claims. That’s a ton of money.
Lawyers for the taxpayer told the Judge this is the city’s mods operandi: Wait till the last minute to vote on the contract then complain that any problems don’t need to be fixed because it would jeopardize city employee’s health. The insurance policy for Houston City Employees lapses at the end of April.
It’s hard not to notice that the Mayor’s close friend Cindy Clifford was in the room during the vote. Clifford was the head of Mayor Turner’s Inaugural Committee. She’s been on the winning side of a curious number of big city contracts since then. She is also the lobbyist for CIGNA.
Clifford was also the lobbyist on a multi-million-dollar airport contract just pushed by the Mayor. We’ve been raising a stink about Clifford for months. Clifford constantly claims in sworn lobbying reports that she hasn’t spent a penny on Mayor Turner or his family, despite photos on Facebook and Instagram that prove otherwise.
Houston City Attorney Ron Lewis has ignored our complaints. So has District Attorney Kim Ogg. The April court date could be ugly, if United proves up the Mayor tried to cheat taxpayers to help his friends at CIGNA.