As Minnesota officials were conducting an investigation that led to this week's announcement that a Chicago medical revenue company would not be allowed to do business there for six years, Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked the state's attorney general to "resolve the matter privately," according to a published report.
The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that in the mayor's letter to Attorney General Lori Swanson about Accretive Health Inc., Emanuel reminded his fellow Democrat of his stature in the party, noting that he'd been a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama's White House chief of staff.
Emanuel also asked that Swanson's office cut off communications between her office and the company's clients "pending the outcome" of a meeting between her and the company's CEO, Mary Tolan.
"Ms. Tolan and her counsel are prepared to meet with you," he wrote in the undated letter.
Swanson went ahead with the lawsuit, outlining to a federal judge what she said was a pattern of questionable ways in which Accretive was pressuring hospital patients to pay their bills, including approaching patients in extreme pain or awaiting medical care.
The company, according to the newspaper, distributed the letter through a public relations firm but would not comment about it. Emanuel declined to answer questions about why he took the step of writing Minnesota's top law enforcement officer on behalf of a Chicago company.
Emanuel's spokeswoman, Sarah Hamilton, told the paper the purpose of the letter was simply to ask that Accretive be treated fairly. Hamilton said Emanuel was "pleased that the situation is resolved."
Under the terms of the agreement, Accretive must stop operations in Minnesota by November. It is banned from doing business in the state for two years outright and another four years unless the attorney general approves. The company, which admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, also will have to pay $2.5 million in penalties.
Information from: Chicago Tribune