Augusta could have to pay thousands in legal fees

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News12 First at Five/ Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A company that sued the city of Augusta is now asking for more than $400,000 in damages. The city disputes those charges and says based on a judges order the company Meritian Health may get closer to $30,000.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield ended up winning the city's insurance contract again. Augusta Commissioners forced into a do over on the insurance contract for more than 5,000 city employees.

"I find it hard to believe that a company would go from third place to first place," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Commissioner Alvin Mason is talking about last year when Blue Cross and Blue Shield scored lower than Meritian and still got the contract. Meritian sued and a judge ordered the city to bid the contract again.

Commissioners used the same consulting firm where an employee had a relationship with someone at Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The same judge called it a conflict of interest.

"It was the same company, but not the same person," said Commissioner Corey Johnson.

"I wish the best for our government and citizens but, something about this doesn't pass the smell test," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Augusta Commissioner Bill Lockett agrees. he voted against Blue Cross and Blue Shield getting the deal.

"It came back to haunt us, that's why right now we have a lawsuit pending," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

A lawsuit that could end up costing the city a lot of money. Now only a judge knows how much it will cost the city.

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