Friday, Jan. 4, 2008 | midnight
After an investigation that began over a year ago, Clark County District Attorney David Roger plans to take the case against former University Medical Center boss Lacy Thomas to a grand jury this month.
The grand jury will decide whether to indict Thomas on allegations that he gave lucrative UMC contracts to friends in Chicago in exchange for kickbacks.
Prosecutors will begin presenting the case Jan. 15. A decision is likely to take several weeks because grand juries meet only one day a week and this case has a long list of witnesses, Roger said Thursday.
Metro Police recommended in September that Roger prosecute Thomas. The recommendation alleged that the former chief executive and two Chicago businessmen, Martello Pollock and Orlando Jones, developed a scheme in which Thomas traded UMC contracts for money deposited into a bank account created by his wife, sources familiar with the investigation said at the time.
Additional aspects of the case, however, needed further investigation. Police and prosecutors subpoenaed bank records in Illinois, most of which they have now received, Roger said.
Sources have told the Sun that one aspect of the case involved UMC contracts with Frasier Systems, a Chicago company that allegedly received $673,000 to improve the hospital's business performance and information technologies at the county's only public hospital. Police said in an affidavit last year that several UMC officials could not recall any services provided by Frasier.
Gregory Boone, Frasier's president, said Thursday his company did a lot of work at UMC and the size of a contract Frasier received has been exaggerated by $200,000.
He said an FBI official in Chicago called him Thursday and told him he needed to pick up a document faxed from Las Vegas. Boone said he didn't know the contents of the document.
“They may want me to just testify. I don't know,” he said.
He also said Metro Police, accompanied by a Chicago-based FBI agent, interviewed him last summer.
The case has been dramatic since its inception last year.
Two months after Roger asked police to investigate UMC contracts, police in January 2007 served a search warrant on the hospital. The same day, an independent auditor revealed to county commissioners that the hospital had lost more than $34 million, not $18.8 million, as Thomas had told commissioners.
After that revelation, County Manager Virginia Valentine fired Thomas.
Since then, police have pored over thousands of pages of documents and computer files. The work culminated in the recommendation in September for prosecution.
Less than a week later, in a tragic turn, Jones killed himself.
By taking the case to a grand jury, Roger said, he will avoid a potentially lengthy preliminary hearing in Justice Court.
“It's far easier and more efficient to line our witnesses up in front of the grand jury,” he said.
Roger would not say what charges prosecutors will seek against Thomas, or whether they will seek charges against anyone else.
Tony Cook can be reached at 259-2320 or at [email protected]