Melcher hires help with Memorial issue

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City Attorney Chris Melcher has chosen a hotshot lawyer to help him negotiate a lease for city-owned Memorial Health System.

Melcher has been doing a lot of hiring of outside counsel lately. He's also hired outsiders to help with the city's Oil and Gas Committee and also to investigate allegations raised by fired city finance director Terri Velasquez.

This time Melcher has chosen the "international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski" to aid in talks about leasing the hospital to the University of Colorado Health System.

According to the press release:

Melcher said, “My office carefully considered suggestions from Council and Memorial representatives on the retention of experienced outside attorneys to assist in the Memorial negotiation. We interviewed numerous highly qualified national and local firms with a wealth of experience in similar projects. Fulbright’s health law practice is nationally recognized as a leader in developing health care system affiliations, particularly those that involve municipal health systems like Memorial and academic medical centers like UCH.”

Wiehl: Melchers newest stand-in.
  • Wiehl: Melcher's newest stand-in.

Larry Singer, an attorney and health-care consulting expert from Chicago, has worked with the city on the Memorial issue for nearly two years, but he wasn't chosen. One can only guess his vast knowledge about our local situation disqualified him from being chosen by the city attorney, who just came on board in mid-September.

More from the release:

Fulbright’s team will be led by James G. Wiehl, a Fulbright Health Care Partner with more than 30 years experience representing hospitals, health systems and academic medical centers.
“This is a very exciting potential affiliation between two partners, both deeply rooted in delivering quality medical services to the communities they serve. In the current times of finding innovative ways to deliver quality care in a very cost efficient way, exploring this affiliation is a smart choice by both parties,” said Wiehl.
The City Attorney's Office will start conversations immediately with UCH, and expects the negotiations to move forward quickly, with assistance from Fulbright and the City Council Liaisons, Merv Bennett and Brandy Williams. City Attorney, Chris Melcher stated he will continue to closely consult the Council, the Mayor, and Memorial as the negotiations move forward. "I am extremely pleased to have the deep experience and superb judgment of Jim Wiehl and the Fulbright firm to assist us in this critical effort," said Melcher.

Wiehl, by the way, is from St. Louis, Mo., according to the lawfirm's website, so expect the taxpayers to get nipped for some travel expenses.

No mention in the press release of how much Melcher has agreed to pay the firm.

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