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Saturday, October 17, 2015
OHA Lawyer Represents Contractor Accused of Using Political Influence to Rip-off State
By Selected News Articles @ 1:49 AM :: 6111 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, OHA

State’s suit over failed tech project is rejected

SA: Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura ruled Tuesday the state should have filed its complaint against Ciber with the chief procurement officer of the state DOT before pursuing a lawsuit in Circuit Court.

Joshua Wisch, special assistant to Attorney General Douglas Chin, said the decision to dismiss the case was made on “purely procedural grounds.”

“The court’s decision is unrelated to the merits of the state’s claims and does not affect the state’s ability to assert those claims against Ciber,” Wisch said in an emailed statement. “The state will continue to vigorously pursue its claims against Ciber for defrauding the state and engaging in other misconduct, including pulling a ‘bait and switch’ by misrepresenting its capabilities to implement new software.”

(OHA lawyer and former Supreme Court Justice) Robert Klein, a lawyer representing Ciber, said the state’s lawsuit against Ciber was filed without following the law “just to make a big splash.”.... (No political influence here, eh?)

The state lawsuit also claimed Ciber used lobbyists and “exercised inappropriate political influence” to persuade the state to continue making payments to the company, and to counter pressure from state transportation officials who were trying to enforce the terms of the contract.

Ciber hired two lobbyists from the firm Capitol Consultants of Hawaii LLP to help persuade Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration that the state should continue with its contract, and Abercrombie Chief of Staff Bruce Coppa was given updates about the project from late 2013 to late 2014, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges political appointee Audrey Hidano was then assigned by the governor’s office to oversee the Ciber project, and Hidano repeatedly told transportation staff “that the governor’s office wanted Ciber to remain on the project despite its performance failures,” according to the lawsuit.

Despite the concerns raised by state transportation officials, Ciber continued to receive payments under the contract until August 2014. Coppa joined the Capitol Consultants lobbying firm as a consultant after the Abercrombie administration ended in 2014, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges Ciber finally abandoned the project and withdrew its staff without any notice after Abercrombie lost the primary election on Aug. 9, 2014. The company later submitted a claim to the Department of Transportation alleging it had suffered more than $23 million in damages, which was partially offset by money it had already been paid....

The state paid Ciber and other consultants working on the Financial Accounting System Transportation a total of $13.88 million, but the new system never worked....

read ... Political Connections Pay Off

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First Circuit Court Grants Ciber's Motion to Dismiss Hawaii Department of Transportation Complaint

News Release from Ciber

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., Oct. 16, 2015  -- On October 13, 2015, the Circuit Court of the First Circuit of the State of Hawaii granted Ciber Inc's motion to dismiss the Hawaii Department of Transportation's (HIDOT) complaint for ignoring the law and a lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  

Ciber is pleased with the Court's ruling and looks forward to demonstrating that the Company operated in good faith, fulfilled its contractual obligations and provided HIDOT with quality IT and consulting services.  For more than 40 years, Ciber has delivered quality IT services to its clients around the world.  Ciber was proud to have been selected by HIDOT to implement a system that would have benefitted Hawaii and is extremely disappointed in HIDOT's refusal to honor its contractual obligations and unnecessary waste of taxpayer resources. The Company believes the Court's ruling demonstrates that HIDOT filed its own frivolous lawsuit merely as retaliation after Ciber tried to collect funds due to the Company for the work it had already completed under its contractual obligations.

After HIDOT refused to pay for work performed as contractually agreed, on February 5, 2015, Ciber filed a claim with HIDOT's Chief Procurement Officer seeking damages, costs and other lawful recoveries arising from HIDOT's breaches of contract.  Rather than attempt to address the issues presented by Ciber, on March 9, 2015, HIDOT inexplicably terminated Ciber for default.  After Ciber submitted a claim for wrongful termination, on August 28, 2015, the Chief Procurement Officer denied Ciber's claims, but noted that the decision could be appealed within six months.  Before Ciber had the chance to even file a claim, HIDOT filed its own complaint, making false and harmful allegations about Ciber.  As demonstrated by the Court's ruling, HIDOT also ignored the mandatory administrative process required by the procurement code.

Ciber filed a complaint against HIDOT on September 25, 2015 seeking, among other things, an appeal of the termination and damages for wrongful termination and for breach of contract.

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About Ciber

Ciber is a global IT consulting company with some 6,500 employees in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific, and approaching $1 billion in annual business. Ciber partners with organizations to develop technology strategies and solutions that deliver tangible business value. Founded in 1974, the company trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CBR). For more information, visit www.ciber.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and our blog.

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Sept 3: State Sues Tech Firm for Buying Influence with Abercrombie Administration

Sept 12: FULL TEXT: Hawaii DoT v Ciber

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