Former Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Bruce Greenstein has been indicted by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office on nine counts of perjury stemming from a lengthy investigation of his involvement in the awarding of a $183 million contract to a company for which he once worked.
Greenstein is accused in four counts of lying under oath to the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee during his confirmation hearings of June 8 and June 17, 2011 and five counts of lying to an East Baton Rouge Parish Grand Jury on June 3 of this year.
Greenstein was appointed head of DHH in September of 2010 and was terminated by the governor’s office on May 1, 2013 when it was learned that the FBI had begun an investigation of the state’s contract with Client Network Services, Inc. (CNSI) as far back as January, 2013 when records of the state’s contract with the company were subpoenaed.
When the FBI probe became known in late March, Jindal immediately cancelled the CNSI contract and Greenstein announced his “resignation” a short time later, though he was allowed to remain on the job until May 1.
The indictment that came down on Tuesday (Sept. 23) is the first time that it was revealed that Greenstein did not resign, but was terminated and apparently allowed to announced that he had resigned.
There was no immediate word of the status of the federal investigation of CNSI and Greenstein but legal observers said Tuesday that pressure will most likely be applied to Greenstein to cooperate with the investigation.
Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell said that while the indictment is for perjury, “it really stems from the entirety of the activity in the awarding of this contract” and the grand jury will remain empaneled to do additional work on the case.
At his confirmation hearings, Greenstein first refused to tell legislators who had won the contract to provide Medicaid billing services for the state but under unrelenting pressure and scolding from legislators, as well as threats of his not being confirmed, he finally admitted that CNSI, his old employer from Washington State, was awarded the contract.
Greenstein, however, insisted that he had built a “firewall” between himself and the selection process and had not intervened in the deliberations, nor had he had any contact with CNSI officials.
It was subsequently learned from emails and text messages subpoenaed by the committee that he had had thousands of text messages and hundreds of phone calls from CNSI officials during the bidding and selection processes.
It was also learned that Greenstein had learned that CNSI was initially not qualified to bid on the contract and that he had added addendums to the bid requirements that made the company eligible.
Counts 1and 2 of the indictment cited his testimony under oath in a response to a question from Sen. Rob Marionneaux that he did not know if CNSI was unqualified under the original request for proposals and became eligible only after the addendum was added to the bid specifications.
Counts 3 and 4 involved his responses to Sen. Karen Carter Peterson about his emails to and from CNSI founder Adnan Ahmed relative to the addendum that made CNSI bid eligible.
The remaining five counts, all for lying to the grand jury, involved charges that he lied about email communications with CNSI, about a directive to DHH personnel forbidding contact with bidders and whether or not the directive applied to Greenstein himself, about his false testimony regarding legal advice he said he received from DHH staff attorney Stephen Russo, and his false testimony regarding his confrontation with DHH and administration officials prior to his June 17 Senate testimony and their efforts to learn the truth about his contacts with CNSI.
Interestingly, none of the counts was for bid-rigging or public corruption, leaving observers to speculate while waiting to see what other charges might be forthcoming as the grand jury continues its investigation.
For the full text of the indictment, go here: INDICTMENT
Of course, he has not been convicted of any of the charges as yet but if prosecutors are able to flip Greenstein, things are going to get pretty interesting around the State Capitol and in Washington State in the coming weeks and months.
And it’s not very likely that he will take the full brunt of the charges if he has committed any wrongdoing. That is, if he can implicate others further up the line.