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Jury seated in theft trial of former UMC chief

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Steve Marcus

Lacy Thomas, former CEO of University Medical Center, appears in court during a break in jury selection at the Regional Justice Center Monday, March 22, 2010.

Updated Monday, March 22, 2010 | 5:04 p.m.

Lacy Thomas Trial

Lacy Thomas, former CEO of University Medical Center, appears in court during a break in jury selection at the Regional Justice Center Monday, March 22, 2010. Launch slideshow »

A jury was seated Monday in the trial of Lacy Thomas, the former director of University Medical Center who is on trial this week on charges of theft and misconduct.

Seven men and seven women, including two alternates, will hear the case against the former UMC boss, who prosecutors say cost the county hospital an estimated $10 million in no-bid and no-work contracts. They say he gave the contracts to friends and associates in Chicago, where he ran the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, formerly called Cook County Hospital.

Thomas, indicted by a grand jury in February 2008, has pleaded not guilty to the five counts of felony theft and five counts of felony misconduct of a public officer against him. If convicted, he could be sentenced to decades behind bars.

Opening arguments are set to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday in front of District Court Judge Michael P. Villani. Witnesses expected to testify Tuesday include, among others, County Counsel Mary-Anne Miller and County Manager Virginia Valentine.

County commissioners fired Thomas in January 2007 for mismanagement. He was hired in 2004.

The trial is expected to last at least a week and a half.

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