9/11 health claims CEO quits after 10 years

By Susan Edelman New York Post

Christine LaSala quit her position after 10 years on the job. Photo: AP

Christine LaSala quit her position after 10 years on the job. Photo: AP

Christine LaSala quit her position after 10 years on the job.

The well-paid CEO of the entity that managed a $1 billion federal fund to cover claims from the Ground Zero cleanup has quit after 10 years.

Christine LaSala, 63, president and CEO of the city-governed WTC Captive Insurance Co., made $350,000 a year from 2004 to 2007 while fighting claims by sick 9/11 responders.

LaSala first announced her resignation in 2008, two months after the Post revealed her salary, which sparked outrage, but returned several months later, “voluntarily” taking a pay cut to $234,500, plus health benefits for herself and her daughter.

She finally left June 30, a month after The Post reported that the Captive may be wasting taxpayer funds by spending lots of money on a staff with virtually nothing to do.

After years of litigation, the entity paid more than $668 million in a 2010 settlement of 10,000 claims by Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers. Three suits are pending.

LaSala called it a “privilege” to lead the captive, the work “important and rewarding.”

“I’m glad she’s leaving,” said 9/11 worker advocate John Feal. “I wish her the best of luck, but in my mind she took money from people who needed it.”

In a June meeting, the Captive’s board of directors, mostly appointees of former Mayor Bloomberg, elected VP and general counsel David Biester to serve as acting president and CEO. Captive spokesman Jon Elsen would not divulge Biester’s salary. He said three staffers remain.

Meanwhile, Mayor deBlasio [sic] has yet to act on a Bloomberg proposal last November to shut down the captive, and turn over $270 million to Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. In turn, the for-profit company would provide a $600 million insurance policy and assume liability for future WTC claims – expected as more responders come down with 9/11-linked cancer.

The captive had $326.7 million as of June 30, documents show. Operating costs for the three months prior totaled $798,745. Investment income that quarter came to $1.1 million.

Feal blasted the mayor for “wasting time.” He said leftover money from the Captive should be added to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund,which gives medical aid and cash payments to WTC responders and residents.

A deBlasio [sic] spokeswoman did not answer questions.

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