The top leadership at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Mo.) resigned last week. No reason was given for their departure.
Richard P. Krecker, 63, president and chief executive officer, took retirement after 13 years as head of the company. John W. Walker, 49, executive vice president and chief operating officer, resigned, as did Michael T. Marcotte, 50, vice president and general counsel.
Walker had taken a leave of absence May 21 shortly after a federal judge made public that he was under investigation in a bribery case involving Kansas City officials. Walker has not been charged in any crime.
The Blues named John P. Mascotte, 58, a well-known insurance executive, as its new chief executive officer. Since 1996 he has been chairman of Johnson & Higgins of Missouri, an insurance brokerage.
Also in Kansas City last week a federal jury returned a mixed verdict in a bribery and racketeering trial of four defendants, in which some of the charges involved attempts to influence state healthcare policy. The Blues was also involved in that case, and Walker testified as a witness.
Bob Griffin, Missouri's former speaker of the House, was not convicted on any of nine counts. But two of his close associates, Cathryn M. Simmons, a lobbyist, and Michael Fisher, the head of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, were convicted of most of the charges they faced. They are awaiting sentencing.
A fourth man, lobbyist Steven Hurst, was found not guilty of all charges.
Griffin was accused of accepting $20,000 from Simmons to kill Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan's health reform bill in 1993 and 1994. Both Griffin and Carnahan are Democrats. The Kansas City Blues didn't want the bill to pass, and it hired Simmons for a total of $102,000 to lobby against it.
All four defendants were acquitted on a charge that they had conspired in bribery to induce Griffin to remove a member of the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee, the state's certificate-of-need authority.
Walker, the Blues' departed executive vice president and COO, has been invoked in a separate case in Kansas City. There, the chairman of the Port Authority of Kansas City, Elbert Anderson, was charged with paying $20,000 to a former Kansas City councilwoman to help steer a $56.4 million insurance contract to the Blues.
In 1993 and 1994, the Blues wanted to cover all Kansas City municipal employees, instead of sharing the contract with two other insurers.
Anderson has pleaded not guilty. But three former public officials have pleaded guilty to unrelated charges and are cooperating with federal authorities.
Many local industry officials believe the legal entanglements of the Kansas City Blues plan led to the breakup of its proposed merger with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, based in Topeka.