Senator on ethics panel has past links with Young Trotter says ties do not disqualify him from the investigation

December 20, 1997|By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Scott Higham | Walter F. Roche Jr. and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF

A member of the legislative ethics panel investigating Sen. Larry Young has past business ties to a company that has contributed to two of Young's organizations.

Records show that Sen. Decatur W. Trotter, a member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, was a marketing representative in 1995 for Diagnostic Health Imaging Services in Prince George's County. The Lanham-based company is affiliated with PrimeHealth, a health maintenance organization.

PrimeHealth was one of the sponsors of a Las Vegas convention Young organized last month. Trotter has also received $8,500 in campaign contributions from Diagnostic Health Imaging Services.

Trotter said yesterday he saw no conflict in his participation in the ethics deliberations because he had previously disclosed his employment and he left the company two years ago.

He said his departure came before DHIS became affiliated with PrimeHealth.

Young is the founder and president of the National Black Health Study Group, one of three private organizations run out of his West Baltimore district office.

PrimeHealth was listed as a sponsor of the Study Group's conference in Las Vegas and of Revival Crusade-97, a September event put on by the American Advocate, another of Young's firms.

PrimeHealth officials told The Sun they would respond only to questions in writing. They subsequently did not respond to written questions.

The ethics panel on which Trotter sits has been charged with examining possible conflicts between Young's official duties as chairman of the Senate's health subcommittee and his connections to the three companies.

Young is scheduled to appear before the committee in a closed session Jan. 6.

Del. Kenneth C. Montague Jr., who is chairing the Young inquiry, said he was unaware of Trotter's alleged business relationships with Young.

"That poses a question," said Montague. "I would have to ask him about it."

Records on file at the Maryland Insurance Administration show PrimeHealth, also based in Lanham, is closely affiliated with Diagnostic Health Imaging Services, sharing office space and officers. Records show DHIS assets were turned over to PrimeHealth to allow the firm to become certified as an HMO by state examiners.

PrimeHealth, after winning a license from the state Insurance Administration, also won a contract to serve state Medicaid patients.

Trotter, in a statement filed with the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics on Jan. 31, 1995, reported he was "employed as a marketing representative for a firm [DHIS] that is involved in the business of radiology and medical imaging."

The Prince George's Democrat has other ties to Young. He has been a regular guest on the Baltimore senator's weekly talk show. Young and Trotter both serve on the board of a nonprofit corporation, the New Caring Brothers, which runs an annual basketball tournament.

Pub Date: 12/20/97

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