Daniels has served as an HHC board member despite the key role she and her law firm have played in representing the interests of the HHC's key private sector partner, American Senior Communities, the company at the center of a federal investigation that today claimed the job of its long-time CEO, James Burkhart.
Publicly-available court records show Daniels' law firm has represented ASC in litigation matters. Additionally, it has been registered at least for more than a decade to represent ASC's interests at the Indiana General Assembly. State lobbying records show Daniels was among several Krieg DeVault employees registered to lobby on behalf of ASC. Krieg DeVault and Daniels have lobbied on behalf of ASC at least since 2001 according to state lobbying records.
For a number of years, Krieg DeVault and Daniels simultaneously represented both ASC and HHC before the Indiana General Assembly. Daniels' law firm had shared lobbying responsibilities for HHC with Barnes & Thornburg until 2012 when Barnes & Thornburg alone began representing HHC. Shortly after FBI and other federal agents raided ASC CEO James Burkhart's sprawling Carmel mansion earlier this week, a high profile criminal defense attorney for Barnes & Thornburg, Larry Mackey, emerged to say he was representing Burkhart.
Mackey's representation of Burkhart also raises conflict of interest questions. News reports have suggested the federal investigation revolves around potential Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement issues. HHC's CEO Matt Gutwein could not ensure members of the City-County Council's Municipal Corporations Committee that the investigation might not impact revenues HHC has received in the past from the 78 nursing homes ASC operates on behalf of HHC. Gutwein assured council members that neither the HHC nor its employees are the subject or targets of the federal investigation. HHC relies on the revenues generated from the ASC-operated nursing homes to pay debt service on its $750 million Eskenazi Hospital. If that revenue source is jeopardized, large property tax increases will have to be levied on Marion County property owners to pay that debt service. Both Burkhart and Daniels, incidentally, serve on the Eskenazi Foundation board that supports the hospital.
City-County Councilor Kip Tew (D), who is a partner with Daniels at Krieg DeVault, also is registered to lobby on behalf of ASC. When HHC's Matt Gutwein and Dan Sellers testified Thursday night before the Municipal Corporations Committee about the ongoing investigation before the HHC's budget hearing, Tew queried Gutwein about the "unique relationship" HHC has with ASC without disclosing his role in representing ASC.