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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Frist pondered HCA stock sale in April: report

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10/1/2005 10:46:27 AM

By MarketWatch

10:46 AM ET Oct 1, 2005

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist pondered the sale of
his stock in HCA Inc. in April, before it was clear that shares of the hospital
company would fall, the Washington Post reported, citing e-mails provided by sources
sympathetic to the Tennessee Republican.

Frist and six HCA insiders sold shares in HCA earlier this year, shortly before the
company issued a profit warning that sent its stock tumbling 9%. The Justice
Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched separate probes
into the sale. HCA was founded by Frist's family.

Frist announced last week that he and his immediate family sold all the shares they
owned in HCA in June. The majority leader has said he acted properly and that he had
no inside information on the company's prospects at the time of the sale. See earlier

The Washington Post said an April 29 e-mail message from G. Allen Hicks, chief
counsel to the majority leader, informed Frist he could talk about the senator's
"blind trust question" that day. Frist also traded email with his Nashville-based
accountant, telling her he wanted to discuss disposing of "all hospital stock in all
accounts that I have control of."

Frist advised his brother, HCA board member and former chairman Thomas Frist, of his
decision in late April, several weeks before telling the official who controlled his
blind trust about the decision, the report said.

Analysts said Frist may still face difficulty explaining to the SEC why he sold when
he did, the Post said. Frist held the stocks in trust for years and maintained they
didn't constitute a conflict of interest, despite numerous complaints by public
interest groups.


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