Judge approves sale of Mayor Vincent Gray donor's troubled company

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Vincent Gray

A D.C. judge has approved the sale of Chartered Health Plan Inc., the Medicaid managed care provider long controlled by embattled businessman Jeffrey Thompson, to a Philadelphia company.

D.C. Superior Court Melvin Wright agreed Friday to a proposal from the District, which seized control of Chartered last year, to sell the company to AmeriHealth for $5 million.

AmeriHealth has also agreed to inject $30 million of its own money to revitalize the company.

City insurance regulators said on Feb. 22 that they had reached a deal with AmeriHealth, pending Wright's approval, that would allow the District to rid itself eventually of the troubled company.

"Our consistent goal has been to avoid disrupting health care delivery," William White, the city's insurance, securities and banking commissioner, said in a February 22 statement. "The sale of Chartered's assets to a large, stable company can help ensure that."

The company, which is the city's largest Medicaid contractor, had in recent years moved onto increasingly shaky financial ground: In 2011, it lost more than $9 million.

And public scrutiny intensified last March when federal authorities raided properties with ties to Thompson.

Although Thompson has not been charged with any crime, he has been implicated as the financier of an illegal shadow campaign that helped propel D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray into office.

The sale of Chartered does not immediately end the city's relationship with the company, though.

District officials have acknowledged that up to the company may have to $50 million in liabilities that aren't covered by the sale, meaning health care providers in the city and taxpayers may have to foot the eight-figure tab.

Earlier this week, D.C. Councilman David Catania said the District should try to force Thompson to pay before passing on the bill to the city government.

"Before you come after the taxpayers, I want you to go after the guy who has the money," Catania told regulators on Tuesday. "I want the corporate veil pierced."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner