Make us your home page
Instagram

WellCare hires new top legal adviser

Five months after an FBI raid on its Tampa headquarters, WellCare Health Plans Inc. recruited a former federal prosecutor specializing in government settlements as its top legal adviser.

Thomas F. O'Neil III of DLA Piper in New York City will join the managed-care company in April as its general counsel.

A 1982 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, O'Neil, 50, has been a partner and co-chair of the firm's group advising businesses under government investigation. According to DLA Piper's Web site, O'Neil "has resolved numerous civil and enforcement actions charging violation of, among other things, the Medicare and Medicaid programs."

O'Neil's background will come in handy at WellCare, a provider of Medicare and Medicaid managed-care plans, which is the focus of ongoing state and federal investigations. Though the exact nature of the scrutiny has not been disclosed, court documents suggest prosecutors are looking at WellCare's Medicaid plan in Florida, particularly its mental health subsidiary. WellCare, which has 2.3-million members nationwide, said it is cooperating fully with the government.

O'Neil succeeds Thaddeus Bereday, who was forced out in January along with WellCare chief executive Todd Farha and chief financial officer Paul Behrens.

Heath Schiesser was immediately named to replace Farha; a replacement for Behrens has not yet been named.

Before joining DLA Piper, O'Neil was chief litigation counsel at MCI Communications Corp. Early in his career, he spent three years as an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland.

Though O'Neil's salary at WellCare was not disclosed, the company said he will receive nonqualified stock options to purchase 100,000 shares over a 10-year term, as well as 50,000 restricted shares of WellCare stock.

WellCare's shares moved up slightly on news of O'Neil's hire, closing Monday at $44.65 per share, up 77 cents. The company's stock has been edging up slowly after plummeting from more than $128 a share to about $20 a share after news of the investigation became public in late October.

Thomas A. Carroll, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus in St. Louis, was cautious about reading too much into WellCare's latest personnel appointment.

"Here's a seemingly educated, smart, well-qualified person deciding to take this potentially risky job, and I'm sure he did his due diligence," said Carroll, who has a neutral rating on WellCare. "Whatever he saw illustrated the company's ability to get through this (investigation).''

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report.

Kris Hundley can be reached at

[email protected] or

(727) 892-2996.

WellCare hires new top legal adviser 03/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 10, 2008 9:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report

    Corporate

    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month

    Autos

    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.