Insurance commissioner seeks to fire PrimeHealth officers

February 03, 1999|By Walter F. Roche Jr. | Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF

The Maryland insurance commissioner has asked a Circuit Court judge for permission to fire four top executives of PrimeHealth Corp., the Lanham health care company at the center of the scandal surrounding former state Sen. Larry Young.

In a petition filed in Baltimore Circuit Court, Commissioner Steven B. Larsen contends the services of the executives, three vice presidents and a general counsel are no longer needed and their salaries -- each makes about $100,000 per year -- are depleting the assets of the health maintenance organization.

Attorneys for the executives are challenging the petition and have asked Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan to throw it out.

PrimeHealth was placed under Larsen's direction under a consent agreement approved by Kaplan on Oct. 1. The company agreed to the takeover order but did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Larsen's petition seeks permission to fire the three vice presidents, Wayne Clarke, Anthony Isama and R. Glenn Beatty, along with the firm's general counsel, Leonard McCants.

Clarke and Isama were among the witnesses to testify in the grand jury probe of Young, the West Baltimore Democrat who has been charged with bribery and extortion in connection with efforts to get PrimeHealth a state contract and license.

Larsen's petition also raises questions about employment agreements for the four that were signed after the state insurance agency had begun to question PrimeHealth's operations.

Under those agreements, all four are entitled to a year's severance pay if they are fired. Paying those amounts, Larsen's petition states, "would jeopardize the goal of rehabilitating the company and satisfying its debts."

According to Larsen's petition, the decision to fire the four executives came after a review of PrimeHealth's management and operations by a consulting firm, Birch & Davis Health Management Corp.

In Annapolis

Highlights in Annapolis today:

Senate meets. 10 a.m. Senate chamber.

House of Delegates meets. 10 a.m. House chamber.

Senate Finance Committee hearing on Patients' Bill of Rights. 1 p.m. Presidential Wing, Senate Office Building.

House Commerce and Government Matters Committee hearing on bill to ban cellular phone use while driving. 1 p.m. Room 140, House Office Building.

Pub Date: 2/03/99

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