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

hundley@sptimes.com 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. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]
  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  5. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]