Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Daniels Dodges IBM Lawsuit Depo For Now

Marion Co. Superior Judge David Dreyer has ruled for now that IBM's attorneys cannot depose Gov. Mitch Daniels in its contentious lawsuit with the Family & Social Services Administration arising out of the cancellation of the company's welfare privatization agreement with FSSA. Gov. Daniels' Chief of Staff, Earle Goode, isn't as lucky. Judge Dreyer will allow IBM attorneys to depose him. The ruling suggested Dreyer could change his decision on a Daniels' deposition at a later time. "Dreyer wrote that forcing the governor to give a deposition would be 'at least premature, until such evidence is forthcoming and sufficient,'" the Star reports.

A decision on the timing of the trial for the lawsuit could have implications for Daniels' anticipated presidential campaign in 2012. The trial date has been pushed back from this October to Feb. 6, 2012, just as the presidential primary season is heating up. The failed privatization effort has cost taxpayers nearly a half billion dollars to date according to some estimates. The state is suing IBM to recover $437 million from the company, while IBM has countersued the state for $100 million it claims it is owed. The failed privatization bid is clearly the greatest embarrassment during Daniels' two terms as Indiana governor. Evidence that comes to light during the trial could cloud his message as a cost-cutting, efficient government manager. E-mails obtained from the state during discovery has already depicted Daniels as an active participant in the botched privatization effort undertaken by his former FSSA Secretary, Mitch Roob, who wanted to steer business to his former employer, ACS, which partnered with IBM on the deal. Daniels had told taxpayers the deal promised savings of up to $500 million, while this blog exclusively reported an insider's first-hand account that Roob knew the deal would not produce any savings to the state.

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