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Councilmember David Catania all but accused Mayor Vince Gray and Medicaid contractor Jeffrey Thompson of engaging in a quid pro quo scheme today on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Catania has long been sore at the Gray administration for an additional $7.5 million payment to Thompson’s company, D.C. Chartered Health Plan, that was pushed through at the last minute soon after Gray took office. Catania views the payment as a way for Chartered to recoup some of the $12 million settlement it had to pay after Catania ordered up an audit that found all sorts of shenanigans with Chartered’s books. The Gray administration has always maintained that the payment was totally legitimate and was in no way connected to Thompson’s previous settlement or his generous political donations. (The well-regarded head of the Department of Health Care Finance, Wayne Turnage, whom even Catania has spoken highly of, swears that the $7.5 million payment was both necessary and legitimate.)

The Catania/Gray argument got a whole lot more interesting after federal agents raided Thompson’s home and offices and the Post tied Thompson to an alleged well-funded off-the-books shadow effort during Gray’s mayoral campaign.

Today on Kojo, Catania ramped it up a notch, speculating that Thompson was eager to put a lot of money behind getting Gray elected in order to preserve his $322 million-a-year Medicaid contract with the District. Thompson, Catania says, knew “on some level” that former Mayor Adrian Fenty and Catania wouldn’t have been eager to see Chartered continue to do business with the District.

“He had a motivation to see Mr. Fenty run out of town,” Catania says (by which LL presumes he meant not Fenty, but his attorney general, Peter Nickles).

Thompson’s attorney has declined to comment since the federal raids. The irony here is that Thompson has been pretty much been forced to sell Chartered since the feds got up all in his business. Turnage indicated last month that the city wouldn’t renew its contract with Chartered with Thompson at the helm “for a number of reasons,” but wouldn’t elaborate on what those reasons were. The latest sale news has a Philadelphia-based company interested in making Chartered a subsidiary.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery