Its case does not focus on the fact Oracle could not get the site working, but five former staff and campaign advisers to the state’s former governor, worked behind the scenes to kill the site for political reasons.
Oracle said it might file similar claims against former Governor John Kitzhaber and his former chief of staff, Mike Bonetto.
The new lawsuit by Oracle seeks about $33 million in damages it says the company lost from the fallout over the Cover Oregon program.
The lawsuit claims Kitzhaber’s staffers and advisers, who did not work for Cover Oregon, “improperly influenced” the decision to shutter the site and then blamed Oracle to defuse the political consequences.
Named in the lawsuit are Kitzhaber’s former campaign manager Patricia McCaig, consultants Kevin Looper and Mark Wiener, former business policy director Scott Nelson and former spokesman Tim Raphael.
Oracle argues the website was ready to go before the state decided to switch to the federal exchange in April.
However it claims that going live with the website and providing a means for all Oregonians to sign up for health insurance coverage didn’t match the former Governor’s re-election strategy to ‘go after’ Oracle,”
Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in a statement said that political operatives Patricia McCaig, Kevin Looper, Scott Nelson, Tim Raphael, and Mark Wiener acted in the shadows and took actions to undermine the ability of Oregonians to receive health coverage; create a false narrative blaming Oracle for the state’s failures; and ultimately interfere with Oracle’s business.
It seems that Oracle’s strategy is to say the site worked, when the State said it didn’t, and rely on the fact that Kitzhaber is not exactly popular any more.
Kitzhaber resigned last week after criminal probes into an influence-peddling scandal involving allegations that his fiancée used her position in his office for personal gain.