Former Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein is scheduled to be questioned Oct. 10. His deposition is part of a lawsuit filed by Client Network Services Inc., or CNSI, accusing the state of breach of contract for firing the company.
Jindal administration lawyers sought to stall the deposition, saying other procedural decisions needed to be made first in the case. Brent Hicks, an attorney for DHH, also said the deposition in the CNSI civil lawsuit could stumble upon issues that are part of a criminal investigation being overseen by the attorney general's office into the Medicaid contract award.
State District Judge Tim Kelley denied the request Monday.
A lawyer for Greenstein said the former DHH secretary wants to give his deposition next week, but Hicks indicated the Jindal administration intended to appeal Kelley's ruling.
Greenstein's lawyer, John McLindon, said the one-time health care chief wants to "tell the story and clear his name" of accusations that he helped steer the contract to CNSI, a Maryland-based company where Greenstein was once vice president.
"He's done nothing wrong. He had absolutely nothing to do with the awarding of that contract," McLindon said after attending Monday's court hearing.
A state grand jury is investigating the contract award. The Jindal administration has accused Greenstein of inappropriate contact with CNSI throughout the bid process that created an unfair advantage for the firm.
The Jindal administration scrapped the 10-year Medicaid claims processing contract with CNSI on March 21, after details emerged about a federal subpoena seeking information about the contract award. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's office empaneled its own grand jury on May 23 to look into possible criminal activity.
Greenstein resigned a week after the company's contract was terminated and moved back to Seattle, where he once lived. He has denied involvement in the contract award.
CNSI sued the Jindal administration, saying it did nothing wrong to win the contract.
CNSI attorney Lewis Unglesby said Greenstein has called and written to the attorney general's office, volunteering to talk about the Medicaid contract. Unglesby said the former DHH secretary has "done everything short of going to the attorney general's house" but hasn't been taken up on his offer.
Kelley said if any questions during Greenstein's deposition next week appear to infringe on the criminal investigation, attorneys for the state can contest the line of inquiry at that time and the judge could put the brakes on certain questions.
"There's a lot of information these witnesses may have that the attorney general won't care about," Kelley said.
The attorney general's office has requested a delay of the entire CNSI lawsuit against the state, saying the stay is needed to protect the integrity of its criminal investigation. A hearing on that request is set for Nov. 4.