A D.C. councilman said Tuesday that embattled businessman Jeffrey Thompson should be held responsible for millions of dollars in unpaid insurance claims before city taxpayers have to foot the bill.

"Before you come after the taxpayers, I want you to go after the guy who has the money," at-large Councilman David Catania told city insurance regulators during a breakfast meeting that Mayor Vincent Gray and the full D.C. Council attended. "I want the corporate veil pierced."

Thompson's Chartered Health Plan manages health care for more than 100,000 D.C. residents. The city seized control of the company last year after auditors detected financial irregularities, and Philadelphia-based AmeriHealth has since agreed to purchase it for $5 million.

But AmeriHealth is not assuming all of Chartered's liabilities, including more than $40 million in outstanding claims.

City officials said that while the federal government could ultimately help pay those claims, the District could still end up with an eight-figure tab.

But Catania wants the city to put Thompson himself on the hook instead of leaving the city with a big bill.

"You go after him personally," Catania said.SClBSClBDaniel Watkins, who is overseeing the company while it is in receivership, said his staff is "actively pursuing claims against the holding company and its primary shareholder."

The claims are a small part of a complex financial picture that has enveloped Chartered. The company has been the subject of significant public scrutiny since last March, when federal authorities raided Thompson's home and offices.

Thompson is a central figure in the investigation of Mayor Vincent Gray's campaign and is believed to have financed a massive shadow campaign that helped elect Gray.

Thompson is already facing one sizable bill from the D.C. government: Last month, the city said it wants a company he controls to pay nearly $4 million, more than half of that in federal tax refunds it received.