Thursday, May 15, 2008

Metro asks Wackenhut for payments tied to laptop theft

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • May 15, 2008 Metro Nashville is asking a security contractor to reimburse the city for more than $840,000 for expenses related to a break-in last year at the Davidson County Election Commission. Metro Law Director Sue Cain wrote a letter Wednesday to Wackenhut Corp. attorney Jim Vines, a former United States attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Wackenhut was responsible for security at the election commission's building in December, when thieves stole two laptop computers containing the Social Security numbers of 337,000 voters. Wackenhut subcontracted with a Mt. Juliet firm, Specialized Security Consultants Inc. An audit later showed Wackenhut had billed Metro for some days when security guards didn't work at the Metro Office Building. Cain asked Wackenhut to pay the city $48,387 for the audit by Kraft CPAs; $21,575 for security services that were not provided; $235,757.35 for two mailings to voters, and $534,391.75 for the cost of providing identity-theft protection to more than 56,000 voters who responded to the city's offer to cover a year of free protection. "The expenditure of these funds was unexpected and has worked a hardship on the government," Cain wrote to Vines. Vines, an attorney with King & Spalding in Washington, D.C., said this afternoon that he had not seen the letter yet. Wackenhut continues to work for Metro, but Cain asked that the company explain in writing why the city shouldn't put the security contract out for new bids.

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