DC Government Fails to Pay Injured Workers’ Premiums for Nearly a Decade

By Peter DePaolis

For nearly a decade, the District of Columbia neglected to pay health and life insurance premiums for city workers injured or killed on the job. A DC auditor found that the city stopped making a majority of the payments in 2001. The city recently paid the $5.7 million in un-paid premiums. The Office of Risk Management (ORM) bears responsibility for making sure the city pays its premiums. Last spring, then-Mayor Adrian Fenty fired the ORM’s director who knew of the unpaid premiums over six years ago.

The former ORM director was aware of the missed payments in 2004, but she did nothing to correct the problem. The auditor fears that the neglect may expose the city to tremendous financial liability. Missed health and life insurance premiums are not the only issue plaguing the ORM.

Last June, whistleblowers told the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the former ORM director handed out lucrative contracts to friends. The auditor’s report revealed the ORM director paid a total of $1.5 million to five companies without executing a contract. District law requires that the parties execute contracts prior to any payments exchanging hands.

The ORM said it has fixed the problem that allowed the premiums to go unpaid.

Workers compensation benefits are vital to workers injured on the job. A Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer can help you or a loved one pursue a workers’ comp claim. Contact Kelly Fisher, a Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.