D-6 The Orlando Sentinel, Thursday. January 22, 1998
Official: I signed tobacco lawyers contract unread.
He said he thought the contract, which gave lawyers 25 percent, was merely "a formality."
TALLAHASSEE -- One of three state officials who signed the contract giving lawyers suing the tobacco industry 25 percent of any settlement told a Senate committee Wednesday he never read the document. "I was under the impression I was to sign it as a formality," said Doug Cook, director of the Agency for Health Care Administration. "I glanced through it [but] I did not read it."
Cook testified before the Senate Executive Business, Ethics and Elections Committee, which is investigating the state's $11 billion settlement with the tobacco industry. The lawyers were preparing to go to trial against big tobacco to recoup public money spent on treating smokers when the deal was reached., The state, however, balked at giving lawyers 25 percent of the settlement, and the contract is now in dispute.
Cook also testified he could not remember who brought him the contract to sign in 1995, who told him to sign it, or many of the events of that time concerning the chairman of the committee, said after the meeting. "It was just an incredible memory lapse." Sgt. Schultz was the bumbling German guard in the 1960s television series Hogan's Heroes. Cook defended himself by saying he signs up to 100 contracts a year and, at the time, it didn't appear the tobacco team had much of a chance of winning.
In a related development, a media team that included two former top aides to Gov. Lawton Chiles was eliminated Wednesday from a list of finalists seeking to win a lucrative contract to run Florida's youth anti-smoking campaign.
The William Cook Agency, a Jacksonville advertising firm, was dropped after lengthy interview and review of its proposal by a selection committee. The Cook agency's team had included former Chiles communications director Ron Sachs and ex-press secretary Jo Miglino, now public relations specialists.
Three firms remain in the running: Crispin, Porter & Bogusky Advertising and Beber Silverstein & Partners, both of Miami; and Paradigm Communications Inc. of Tampa.
How long can we Americans permit this to go on! Public officials not being held accountable for their actions due to memory lapses.?Not thinking that it was important.? Just a formality is this what is being done with my license ( life).? Just how many other lives have been ruined due to a nut like this is running the show? Just sign here Mr. Director of the AHCA all it is another Nurse forgetting to give a medication at 9Pm and gave it at 9:35 P.m. instead.
Let me see, Director of AHCA , + Tobacco companies, + Philips Morris, + Magellan, + Private defense attorneys representing the people of Fl getting 1/4 of the money, + Jose being punished and not allowing him to be a patient advocate…..No Way Jose!! No connection what so ever son… you have an over active imagination best go and see Dr Goetz so that you can have a psychiatric evaluation you keep thinking like that and Prozac will be your new candy.! Pretty soon you will even think that there is a New World Order conspiracy or something like that.
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