CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If it ever gets to trial, the whistleblower suit by former Department of Health and Human Resources executives Jennifer Taylor and Susan Perry against former acting DHHR secretary Rocco Fucillo could be a humdinger, judging by the witness list submitted by the plaintiffs.
Potential witnesses who may be called to testify include top officials in the governor's office, including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin himself, along with chief of staff Charles Lorensen, chief counsel Peter Markham, and former chief of staff Rob Alsop.
(You may recall it came out in depositions that Perry, who continued to do cubicle work at DHHR for several months after Taylor and communications director John Law were fired, was fired not by Fucillo, but by Markham.
That apparently was at the behest of incoming DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling, who requested a clean slate upon taking office, including shipping Fucillo off to Fairmont, and came after Perry turned down an offer to be legal counsel in another state agency.)
The witness list also includes former Tomblin deputy chief of staff Erica Mani. (Taylor went to Mani to raise concerns of improprieties in scoring bid packages for the lucrative contract for DHHR advertising). It also includes current director of public policy Hallie Mason, for her general knowledge of the state bidding process and awarding of government contracts.
State Purchasing Division Director Dave Tincher is also on the witness list.
In addition to the defendants in the suit -- Fucillo, deputy DHHR secretary Warren Keefer and DHHR purchasing director Bryan Rosen, the list includes a number of current and former DHHR staff, including Marsha Dadisman, who was chairwoman of the RFP review committee, Inspector General David Bishop, and Human Resources Director Harold Clifton.
Mark Polen, formerly with the Arnold Agency -- the firm that lost the DHHR advertising contract -- is on the list to testify that Christy Margolin from Falghren Mortine stated in May, 2012 that the company won the contract (which wasn't actually awarded until that July), and that he was advised by representatives in the governor's office not to protest the bid process.
Also, several DHHR officials are listed to testify basically as character witnesses, regarding Perry and Taylor's roles in advising on proper handling of contracts.
They include former secretary Paul Nusbaum, former deputy secretary Shana Phares and former general counsel Marsha Morris, as well as current treasurer's office counsel Diana Stout.
Coming back from Washington last Sunday, I picked up a Washington Post at Union Station, and at about Culpeper came across a timely Dr. Gridlock column entitled, "Death, taxes and perhaps someday, tolls."