Feds conclude DHHS contracting probe

Posted August 12, 2016

Gov. Pat McCrory and Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos tear up during an Aug. 5, 2015, announcement that she plans to step down.

— The U.S. Attorney's Office has notified the state Department of Health and Human Services that it is no longer under investigation in connection with high-dollar consulting contracts and salaries granted to politically connected individuals.

"This letter is to advise you that the above investigation has been closed{{/a}}, John Stuart Bruce, U.S. attorney for North Carolina's Eastern District, wrote in a pair of letters. He added that the letters did not confer immunity from prosecution or prevent the case from being reopened if new evidence comes to light.

"As we've always said and expected, we were notified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that both reviews of the Department of Health and Human Services have been closed and this matter is concluded," DHHS spokeswoman Kendra Gerlach said via email Friday night.

The investigation came to light nearly a year ago and was opened shortly before then-DHHS Secretary Aldo Wos resigned her post.

Federal subpoenas issued to the department requested more information on more than 30 employees, as well as bidding and payment information for administrative contracts, as part of a criminal investigation.

Among the apparent subjects of the investigation were Thomas Adams, a former chief of staff who received more than $37,000 as "severance" after he served just one month on the job; Joe Hauck, an employee of Wos' husband who landed a lucrative contract that made him among the highest-paid workers at DHHS; and Alvarez & Marsal, a consulting firm overseeing agency budget forecasting under a no-bid contract that has nearly tripled in value, to at least $8 million.


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