CalOptima Chairman Sends Own Letter to Political Watchdog

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CalOptima board Chairman Ed Kacic has sent his own letter to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, saying information mailed to the political watchdog by the Orange County Board of Supervisors was incomplete and factually inaccurate.

County Counsel Nicholas Chrisos sent a letter to the FPPC April 17 on behalf of the Board of Supervisors, asking the agency to determine whether Kacic had a conflict of interest that would prevent the supervisors from reappointing him to the CalOptima board.

In his own letter, Kacic told the FPPC that the potential conflict Chrisos describes came from an anonymous letter and is factually wrong.

The county letter asks the FPPC if there is a conflict if the nonprofit Irvine Health Foundation “serves as the fiscal intermediary of CalOptima funds on behalf” of another nonprofit, the Managed System of Care. Kacic is head of the Irvine Health Foundation.

“Neither IHF [Irvine Health Foundation] nor any other organization or person has ever proposed that IHF serve as a fiscal intermediary of any CalOptima funds for any purpose,” Kacic said in his letter.

Kacic told the FPPC that the anonymous allegations were circulated in February, just before the Board of Supervisors began considering who to appoint and reappoint to the CalOptima board.

“Because this anonymous document contained significant factual errors and also included completely prevaricated allegations against another CalOptima Board member, I believe that it was actually created by a person or persons unknown in order to defame CalOptima, certain CalOptima Board members (including myself) and the Irvine Health Foundation,” Kacic wrote to the FPPC.

Kacic has repeatedly said he is eager for a law enforcement agency to look into the allegations so that he can clear his reputation. Supervisors discussed the contents of the anonymous letter during a February board meeting and decided to ask the county grand jury and FPPC to investigate, but then waited six weeks before acting.

The whole issue revolves around wholesale changes in the composition of the CalOptima board of directors that Supervisor Janet Nguyen persuaded a majority of supervisors to adopt.

Among the changes was an increase in the number of CalOptima board members from the present nine members to 11 and a restructuring of qualifications, potentially giving control to Nguyen and the medical industry.

A total of 52 candidates have applied for four open seats on the reconstituted board. There is no staff, salary or meeting expenses for board members. Nguyen, acting Health Care Agency Director Mark Refowitz and Social Services Director Michael Riley sit on the CalOptima board as part of their county jobs.

— TRACY WOOD

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