The Nakamoto investigation questions CATS’ delay in health care payments to employees

BATON ROUGE — CATS employees’ health insurance may have lapsed by two days after the bus company was late on its bills, according to an email obtained by WBRZ.

The latest release comes amid a series of WBRZ Investigative Unit reports and Chris Nakamoto’s reports on the bus system, which included failed drug tests by top CATS bosses, allegations of lost money and personnel issues.

Broadcast WBRZ newscasts here.

A spreadsheet obtained by WBRZ shows health insurance bills that CATS paid from May 2020 to April 2022, and 26 of the 54 bills were not paid by the due date. Some are two days late, others are two months late.

In one case, employees’ health insurance appeared to lapse by two days until it was returned when the insurance company received payment.

CATS did not provide any specific comment, but all of its healthcare bills have been paid as of Tuesday.

The mess is the latest troubling issue revealed in the Nakamoto report.

Last month, the WBRZ investigative unit revealed that the agency’s drug watcher had been examined. John Cutrone failed a random drug test when he tested positive for methamphetamine in January. CATS conducted a follow-up test approximately two weeks later with a segmented sample to confirm the first test. The results were the same.

The quantity considered positive is 500. Cutrone’s methamphetamine level was 3233.

The WBRZ unit screened surveys with several HR professionals and those who are familiar with how drug testing works. They all say there is nothing you can take over the counter or get by prescription that will cause you to test positive for methamphetamine.

This is also supported by internal CATS document sources provided to the WBRZ investigative unit.

The department noted, “Methamphetamine does not have any medications or prescriptions to support an individual medical condition for taking this illegal drug or give a reason for these drugs to appear in your body.”

CEO Bill DeVille gave a shaky explanation last month about why he’s selectively enforcing the agency’s zero-tolerance drug policy. Cutrone still works.

Amid all the turmoil, an anonymous member of the board issued the following statement to WBRZ, “The agency is going in the wrong direction and it is up to the board members to stop this fiasco and disaster that has been happening over the past few years. It’s only getting worse.”

A meeting is held on Tuesday night to evaluate CEO Bill DeVille’s performance. Watch WBRZ News 2 at 9:00 and 10:00 Tuesday for new information about the meeting.

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