A company that was a prime beneficiary of MDOC's no-bid contract policy under Chris Epps also landed a lucrative contract with Harrison County for providing medical services to its inmates. MDOC paid Health Assurance, LLC more than $49 million for medical services to MDOC prisons from 2003 to 2014 while Harrison paid more than $14 million. Incredibly, the dates of the payments coincide with dates cited by prosecutors for when now-deceased Harrison County Supervisor William Martin accepted bribes in his indictment.
Health Assurance, LLC is owned by physicians Carl and Michael Reddix and is located on Ridgewood Road in Jackson. It was formed in 2001. The registered agent is attorney Charlene Priester although Judge Melvin Priester served in that capacity in previous years. All members of the black power structure in Mississippi. The company has provided medical services to correctional facilities throughout Mississippi .*
Seethespending.org records state that MDOC made payments from 2003 until 2014**. This page from the current contract for the Wilkinson County facility shows how Health Assurance was able to obtain "sole-source" contracts and thus avoid bidding requirements under state law:
MDOC paid the company over $49 million dollars according to see the spending:
However, the Reddix brothers did not stop at state contracts but pursued county business from the Gulf Coast to the Gold Coast.
Harrison County awarded a contract to Health Assurance, LLC in 2004 for the provision of medical services at county correctional facilities. See page 92 of the minutes.
Supervisor Martin seconded the motion to award the contract to the company and usually seconded motions whenenever the motions where favorable to Health Assurance. Mr. Martin was the only black member of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors. Seethespending.org records state that Harrison County paid Health Assurance, LLC over $14.6 million from 2005 to 2012 for services provided to the county jail and youth detention center.
Harrison County paid Health Assurance the following amounts of money each year:
FY 2012: $2.0 million
FY 2011: $2.4 million
FY 2010: $1.9 million
FY 2009: $1.9 million
FY 2008: $1.9 million
FY 2007: $1.5 million
FY 2006: $1.2 million
FY 2005: $1.7 million
FY 2004: $0.0
The county terminated the contract in July 2012.
The Martin indictment states:
That from on or about January 2005 through on or about August 2012, in Harrison County, in the Southern Division of the Southern District of Mississippi and elsewhere, that the defendant, William Martin, did corruptly solicit, demand, accept, and agree to accept multiple things of value from a person, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a transaction and series of transactions of Harrison County, involving a thing of value of $5,000 or more.This time period just happens to be the exact same time period when Harrison County made payments to Health Assurance financial. Sources on the Gulf Coast told JJ that State Auditor representatives copied records regarding medical contracts for Harrison County as well as travel and other records for Mr. Martin.
Kingfish note: Priesters? In fact, Junior bragged about representing Health Assurance on his campaign Facebook page:
*Good story by Jerry Mitchell in December 2014 on relationship and controversy between Health Assurance and MDOC.
**Current data is not available.