TennCare Figures Appear Before Federal Grand Jury - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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TennCare Figures Appear Before Federal Grand Jury

(Story created: 5/25/05)

FIRST ON 5: The criminal investigation of powerful Senate chairman John Ford - and his high-dollar consulting deals - is heating up. Wednesday, two top executives for a major TennCare contractor appeared before a federal grand jury that's investigating the Memphis Democrat.

Agents from the TBI and FBI entered the grand jury room inside Nashville's U.S. Court House, carrying what appeared to be a large satchel of charts.

With them: two high-profile witnesses.

Steve Pollock is the new president of Doral Dental - and Lisa Sweeney is the company's chief financial officer.

They were accompanied into the court house by lawyers from the Nashville law firm of Bass Berry & Sims, which represents the company.

Doral Dental is the contractor that has provided dental services for TennCare patients for about three years.

That contract came after the company hired a consulting firm linked to Ford, whose committee handles TennCare's budget -- that despite rules that prohibit TennCare money from going to state officials.

Asked about the pair's grand jury appearance, Doral issued the following statement:

"From the beginning, Doral has pledged to cooperate fully with the authorities in regards to their inquiries and investigations. And we continue to do so."

Doral officials have stressed that this deal with Ford was struck by previous owners and a previous president.

The new president, Steve Pollock, declined to comment on his testimony.

But in the hallway outside the grand jury room, he could be heard telling his attorney that he was asked repeated questions about Senator Ford's company, Managed Care Services Group.

The grand jury has also subpoenaed records from an insurance company with ties to Ford and TennCare.

All that came as the Senate ethics committee was briefed by its special counsel from the state attorney general's office. A report is expected to go to the full committee later this week.

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