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Official Ripped Off Data, Took Bribes Before Leaving Job, County Says

Amended complaint filed in federal court pertaining to what Marin County has called a defective and expensive computer system.

The county of Marin filed an amended complaint in federal court Tuesday related to its actions against SAP, Deloitte Consulting and former county official Ernest Culver regarding what it deems as an expensive and defective computer system.

In a press release, the county said the complaint filed in the Northern District of California alleges that Culver misappropriated a massive amount of county computer data shortly before leaving the county’s employ. Culver was the former county assistant auditor-controller who managed the county’s project to implement an enterprise resource planning software known as SAP for Public Sector.

“We have a strong case and are committed to ensuring accountability for our taxpayers,” Board of Supervisors President Steve Kinsey said in the release.

Earlier this month, a federal judge rejected many of Marin County's racketeering claims against the consultants. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston had asked the county to file a new complaint, and rejected a request from Culver to dismiss the county's lawsuit against him. Culver is accused of accepting bribes in the form of a job offer and lavish meals while he was managing the computer project for the county. Culver headed the project before he joined SAP as an executive.

In its release, county officials states that the amended complaint alleges that as part of his corrupt relationship with SAP and Deloitte, Culver concealed problems on the project, approved Deloitte’s deficient work on the project, and ensured that the county continued to pay SAP and Deloitte substantial fees. SAP and Deloitte are alleged to have aided and abetted Culver’s fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

The county has also alleged that Culver’s actions violated California Government Code Section 1090, which prohibits public employees from being financially interested in contracts made by them in their official capacity. The county is seeking return of monies earned by SAP and Deloitte pursuant to this statute.

The new claim against Culver alleges a violation of California Penal Code Section 502, known as the Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act. This claim alleges that the county recently discovered that before leaving the county to take a job with co defendant SAP, Culver unlawfully accessed the county’s computer system and copied approximately 30 gigabytes of county electronic data, including the social security numbers and related personal information of thousands of active and retired county employees. Culver currently works as a client services executive for SAP Public Services, Inc.

A second action by the county, alleging that defendant Deloitte Consulting fraudulently induced and breached its SAP implementation contract with the county, is pending in state court. The complaint in that action alleges that Deloitte secured the contract by falsely representing that it had the necessary skills and experience to implement SAP for Public Sector software, and then provided the county with unskilled and inexperienced consultants who delivered a defective system that the County must now replace.

Tina McMillan January 19, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Wow! Just a few years back the Marin Civil Grand Jury wrote a report saying SAP was a disaster and should be scrapped and yet the Marin County Supervisors continued to pour money into the failed program claiming it was worth it. They went from an initial investment of $1 million dollars to a loss of $30 million dollars before they realized they had made a mistake. It may be that Culver is guilty but it does not excuse the gross negligence on the part of supervisors that rubber stamped the purchase of an extremely expensive, untested financial software program. If you read previous articles written about SAP you will find that county staff complained for years that the program wasn't working and that its implementation was poorly managed. Now the county is looking for someone to blame. First Deloitte then Culver. This boondoggle rests squarely on the shoulders of the supervisors who took too long to pull the plug.

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