State wants to know why a company working for a TennCare provider paid Ford thousands

State investigators want details of why a company working for a TennCare provider paid State Senator John Ford more than $200,000. It may cause trouble for Senator Ford. It's a deal between a TennCare contractor and a consultant. We spent some time looking over it and the trouble - if there is any - might be in the fine print.

If you're going to follow the trail, you begin with Senator John Ford's income tax statements listing earnings from his job in the senate, from his consulting job and from a partnership with a group called Managed Care Services Group, which paid him nearly $50,000 in 2002. He more than tripled that the next year. The problem is Managed Care Services Group is a consulting company that did work with a TennCare subContractor called Doral Dental. In a letter obtained by Action News 5, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen outlines state law about conflicts of interest. It's clear. The documents show payments averaging $40,000 a month between Doral Dental and that consulting company. But the contract between Doral Dental and the consultant hint at a Ford connection in a cryptic clause that says Doral Dental can terminate the agreement upon "the death of the principal legislator affiliated with representative." Another part of the contract says Representative shall use Representative's best efforts to expand existing relationships between Doral and Payor which, in this case, could be TennCare.

The Governor has asked the Attorney General to investigate. TennCare is also independently looking into it. Ford has made clear all week that he had no interest in making any comment about this. We did leave messages for him anyway. They went unreturned.