Jeff Landry puts formerly indicted Louisiana health secretary on advisory council

By: - November 7, 2023 6:15 pm
Bruce Greenstein and Donald Trump

LHC Group executive Bruce Greenstein bumps elbows with U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House March 13, 2020, in Washington, DC. Greenstein is a former Louisiana health secretary who was accused of lying to state Senate committee and grand jury about his involvement in a Medicaid contract for his former employer. Gov.-elect Jeff Landry has appointed him to one of Landry’s transition advisory committees. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Gov.-elect Jeff Landry has selected a former Louisiana health secretary charged by a state grand jury with lying under oath to serve on his Health Care and Hospitals Council. 

Bruce Greenstein is one of 28 members on the advisory panel expected to make policy recommendations to the incoming governor over the next two months. Landry’s transition team hasn’t released the list of health care council members, but two people familiar with the group shared the names of participants with the Illuminator.

Other members of the group include Courtney Phillips, a former health secretary for Gov. John Bel Edwards, and Ruth Johnson, a former director of the state Medicaid program. It’s unclear if Phillips, who left the health department in April, has a new job. Johnson now works for Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. 

The governor-elect’s staff has not responded over the past four days to questions about Greenstein’s selection. Greenstein has not replied to messages sent to his work and cell phone numbers since Sunday. 

Half a dozen former government officials and health care advocates also contacted for this story declined to comment on Greenstein’s role in the governor-elect’s transition, fearing a public statement would put them at odds with Landry.

Greenstein was forced out of his job running the state’s health agency in 2013 when then-Gov. Bobby Jindal discovered the federal government was investigating Greenstein’s role in the award of a nearly $200 million Louisiana Medicaid contract to Greenstein’s previous employer, Client Network Services Inc. (CNSI).

Greenstein was never convicted of a crime and repeatedly denied wrongdoing at the time. 

While the federal government never brought charges, a state grand jury that then-Attorney General Buddy Caldwell convened indicted Greenstein on nine counts of perjury for allegedly lying to a Louisiana Senate committee and a grand jury about the Medicaid contract.


Greenstein initially said he had very little contact with CNSI as the company bid for Louisiana’s Medicaid business, but an investigation later revealed Greenstein had exchanged hundreds of messages with its executives. He also recommended state officials adjust the terms of the state Medicaid bid so that CNSI would meet the criteria and could apply for the work. 

Greenstein, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, defended himself by saying his exchanges with CNSI executives were mostly personal and that he never took a bribe from the company. He is good friends with some of his former CNSI coworkers and the conversations were casual, he said.

“It never crossed my mind that my friends or my texts were with a company,” Greenstein told a grand jury in late 2014

He was also never convicted, in part because Landry beat Caldwell in the 2015 election for attorney general and dropped the charges against Greenstein within two months of taking over the office.

At the time, Landry’s staff said they didn’t think the state could meet the burden of proof to obtain a conviction against Greenstein. 

CNSI also gave Landry’s campaign and a Landry political action committee $52,500 total to defeat Caldwell, according to campaign finance records.

Caldwell’s son, David Caldwell, had been the lead attorney on the Greenstein case and left the attorney general’s office when his father lost the election. 

After the charges were dropped, Greenstein went on to join President Donald Trump’s administration as the chief technology officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2018, he left the federal government to become an executive at LHC Group, a Lafayette business that was, at the time, one of the country’s largest home health care companies.

Keith Myers, LHC Group’s founder and chief executive officer emeritus, is one of the largest political donors to Landry, with contributions totaling more than $600,000 to his campaigns and PACs since 2017. Myers is also the co-chair of the Health Care and Hospitals Council for Landry that includes Greenstein. 

Greenstein’s legal troubles affected other aspects of state government for a few years.

Independent of the grand jury investigation, Jindal canceled Louisiana’s contract with CNSI in 2013 on the grounds that Greenstein had inappropriate contact with the company during the state bid process. This resulted in CNSI suing Louisiana for wrongful termination, a legal dispute that dragged on for years until Gov. John Bel Edwards settled with the company in 2016.

Before the case was settled, CNSI’s attorneys had sought depositions from several members of the Jindal administration, including current Republican attorney general candidate Liz Murrill.

When the CNSI contract was canceled, Murrill was the general counsel for Jindal’s commissioner of administration, Kristy Nichols, and involved in the decision to give CNSI the boot. Later, she went on to work closely with Landry in the attorney general’s office, and has leaned heavily on Landry’s political connections while campaigning to replace him as the state’s top elected law enforcement official. 

Beyond Greenstein, there is at least one other person on Landry’s health care advisory council raising some eyebrows.

Jeff Richardson, an Alexandria businessman, was connected to two questionable allocations inserted secretively into the state budget in 2022.

One gave $3 million to a government health agency for a 70-bed addiction treatment center in Lafayette that Richardson was involved in setting up.  The money was put into the state budget without the knowledge of state health officials, and one health department employee who directly manages health projects in the Lafayette area successfully pushed to call the project off several months later. 

The second appropriation called for $9 million in state funding to go to the purchase of swampland in St. James and Lafourche parishes that Richardson owns with a few other men. Several state officials raised concerns about the price of the swampland being inflated, and new land assessments indicate it probably worth a little over half of that $9 million price tag. 

One of Richardson’s business partners, Leonard Franques, has also been implicated in the bribery scandal that led Edwards’ Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet to resign earlier this year, though Franques has not been charged with a crime. 

In an interview, Richardson said Landry put him on the advisory council because of his extensive experience managing health care businesses. He has owned firms that deliver home health care, services to people with disabilities and adolescent psychiatric treatment, he said. Richardson has also worked on government boards that have reviewed public health care funding.

“I have a wealth of health care knowledge,” Richardson said.

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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press.