Charges against former Highmark CEO Melani withdrawn
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 9:37 a.m.
Allegheny County prosecutors on Wednesday withdrew criminal charges against former Highmark CEO Ken Melani stemming from a fight with his mistress' husband.
The charges were withdrawn as part of an agreement that Melani, 58, complete anger management classes. His attorney, Robert Del Greco, said Melani had completed 16, one-hour classes.
Melani declined to comment as he entered and left District Judge Linda Zucco's Plum office.
During the brief hearing, Deputy District Attorney David Spurgeon wrote on the criminal complaint that charges of simple assault and defiant trespass would be withdrawn. Spurgeon told the judge that none of the parties involved objected to the withdrawal.
Zucco asked Melani about the anger management classes.
"It was good. It was actually good," Melani said.
"You learned something?" Zucco asked.
Melani said he did.
The hearing lasted less than 10 minutes.
Melani was charged with simple assault and defiant trespass when police said he fought with the husband of his mistress, Melissa Myler, 28, on March 25 at the Mylers' Oakmont home. Melissa Myler is a Highmark employee.
Highmark fired Melani, who was paid $4.35 million last year, in April and named Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr. as its CEO this week. Winkenwerder, 58, a private health-care consultant and former assistant secretary in the Department of Defense, will start in mid-July at the nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield company, which is located Downtown.
Del Greco said Melani was embarrassed by the incident.
"He wanted to challenge the charges but he followed the advice of his counsel," Del Greco said. "He embraced the anger management classes. He had always taken the position that he did not engage in a crime."
Del Greco said litigation involving Melani's job is still "dangling," but yesterday's hearing concluded the criminal matter. Melani continues to have a relationship with Myler but to what extent, Del Greco said, he couldn't say. He described it as "complicated."
"I know he cares for Melissa and wants to be a good father and a good citizen. It's a complicated matter," Del Greco said.
Attorney Sam Cordes, who represents Myler, said the dismissal of the charges doesn't affect her employment with Highmark.
"It has no effect whatsoever," Cordes said. "Work has been stressful, but we're adapting."
Cordes also represents Melani in employment matters and said the former CEO filed a claim against Highmark with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the company of retaliation after he complained about discrimination against Myler.
Melani also is trying to work out a contact dispute with Highmark, Cordes said.
Highmark spokesman Michael Weinstein declined to comment on the contract issue.
"Regarding the retaliation charge, the only comment is that we received it, and we believe the allegations are baseless and without merit," Weinstein said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Worilds loses sack; Big Ben gets 1st career catch
- Pirates sign free agent pitcher Volquez
- Pirates not yet talking extensions with Alvarez, Walker
- McCutchen proposes to girlfriend on DeGeneres show
- Pirates make inquiry into former Cy Young winner Johan Santana
- Police: Driver fell unconscious before Seton Hill bus crash
- Personality Test: New Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre addition adjusting to city
- Moon wrestling program building with Quaker Valley’s cooperative agreement
- Second City brings Chicago improv, holiday stuff to O’Reilly Theater
- DVD reviews: ‘Despicable Me 2,’ ‘Fast & Furious 6’ and ‘Adore’
- To 1940s teenagers in Connellsville, World War II was a constant companion