Money to Thompson goes back to Williams’ first term

Board approved D.C. clinic

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Donations of $2,000 each to the Williams campaign that day came from, among others, Mr. Thompson, executives at his health plan, his accounting associates and Nursing Enterprises Inc., a company headed by Myrtle R. Gomez, who serves on the board for Mr. Thompson’s health plan.

In other campaigns, many of those same donors gave maximum contributions on the same day to the same politicians as Mr. Thompson and his associates, records show.

In October 2002, the Williams campaign received another infusion of cash from donors tied to Mr. Thompson, including a contribution from Mr. Thompson’s health care holding company, D.C. Healthcare Systems Inc.; his accounting partner, Michael Cobb; and a Philadelphia company whose owner had done consulting work for Mr. Thompson’s accounting firm.

The contributions were hardly unusual. The same pattern has emerged, election after election, in a review of dozens of campaign disclosure reports filed by city lawmakers in the past decade.

“I think it started as very small,” city activist Dorothy Brizill, who runs the DCWatch website, said in an interview early last week. She began posting information about contributions tied to Mr. Thompson about a decade ago.

“Then you say, well, nobody got caught,” she said. “And then soon everyone starts doing it. Then it’s a situation where your campaign might suffer if you don’t accept $10,000 or $15,000 in these bundled contributions.”

In a rare public remark on his political giving, Mr. Thompson told the now-shuttered Common Denominator newspaper in 2001 that his companies backed politicians who “support good public-health policy.”

“We will continue to support politicians who are on the side of supporting quality health care,” he told the newspaper. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Big business

Since April 2002, D.C. Chartered Health Plan has secured Medicaid and other contracts totaling at least $800 million from the city government, a review of city contracting records shows. The health plan also handles claims for a separate city-funded health plan for low-income people who do not qualify for Medicaid called the D.C. Healthcare Alliance, records show. The alliance was created after D.C. General Hospital was closed, a move Mr. Williams backed.

While most of the money paid out to D.C. Chartered went to administer health care claims, the company still paid out millions of dollars in dividends to Mr. Thompson’s holding company, records show. Annual reports show D.C. Chartered posted net profits in 2004 and 2005 of more than $5 million each year, while also paying millions in fees to affiliated companies controlled by Mr. Thompson.

In 2006 and 2007, D.C. Chartered paid cash dividends totaling more than $5 million to its parent company, D.C. Healthcare Systems Inc. The Washington Post reported on the dividend payments in March.

In addition, D.C. Chartered paid management fees totaling more than $3 million to D.C. Healthcare Systems during the same period, records show. The health plan also paid Mr. Thompson’s accounting firm more than $400,000 from 2003 to 2007, and nearly $5 million in 2006 and 2007 for transportation services to RapidTrans Inc., a company also owned by Mr. Thompson.

Meanwhile, the accounting firm that Mr. Thompson founded, Thompson Cobb Bazilio & Associates, has won tens of millions of dollars in contracts since 2000, though several of the engagements were so-called supply schedule agreements, where vendors are paid up to a certain amount but actually can receive less money. In one case, however, the firm received a lot more money.

In 2000, the city awarded a $999,000 contract to Thompson Cobb Bazilio & Associates. The consulting deal lasted only a year, but the task orders paid out to Mr. Thompson’s company continued for years, records show.

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