Pressure mounts on hospital insurance contract in the West Bank | Local politics


Jefferson Parish Councilor John Young on Friday called for the immediate rescinding of West Jefferson Medical Center’s questionable insurance deal with Wally Pontiff Sr. and B&A Insurance Agency.

John Young, Jefferson Ward Councilor

Young cited a section of the public hospital’s contract with Colonial Supplemental Insurance, for which B&A and Pontiff act as brokers, which states that Pontiff agrees not to pay commission to any third party. His comments came five days after The Times-Picayune reported that

The pontiff had a secret partnership to divide the commissions

with former parish president Tim Coulon and Lagniappe Industries, an insurance brokerage company co-owned by the executive director of parish administration, Tim Whitmer.

Neither Coulon, Whitmer nor Lagniappe Industries were on the resolution the parish council ratified to appoint the pontiff as the official broker for supplemental insurance plans purchased by hospital employees.

Young called Pontiff’s partnerships a blatant breach of contract and said he spoke with his representative on the hospital’s board of directors, James Cramond.

“I asked that he move to cancel the contract immediately,” Young said. The council is due to meet on Monday.

Young’s request comes a day after parish president Aaron Broussard tasked ward attorney Tom Wilkinson to review all laws applicable to public employee relations with the parish’s two hospital districts. Wilkinson is also supposed to determine if Whitmer broke any laws or policies, Broussard said.

Additionally, Broussard said Whitmer had sought a ruling from the Louisiana Ethics Board regarding Lagniappe Industries’ affairs with the Marrero Hospital.

Coulon deferred his comments to Pontifex and Colonial as signatories of the contract. The pontiff did not respond to a message left at his home in Metairie.

Whitmer, who co-owns Lagniappe with his wife, Dawn, said it was prudent not to respond until he heard from the ethics committee. A woman who answered Dawn Whitmer’s phone hung up after a reporter identified himself.

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Meanwhile, Peter Butler, a hospital lawyer,

. Butler asked for answers at noon Monday.

“Obviously, if there is a violation,” said parish council chairman Tom Capella, “the contract should be canceled.”


explicitly forbids him to share any commission with other agents who are not his employees. Pontiff is listed as the “producer” in the agreement.

“The producer warrants that he has not employed or retained any company or person, other than a bona fide employee working solely for the producer, to seek or obtain this agreement, and that he has not paid or accepted to pay for a company or person, other than bona fide employees working only for the producer, any fees, percentage of commission, brokerage fees, gifts or any other consideration, subordinate or resulting from the award or conclusion of this agreement, ”says the contract.

If the hospital’s board of directors determines that the pontiff has violated this clause, he can “cancel this agreement without liability.”

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Richard Rainey can be reached at [email protected] or 504.883.7052.

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