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Connected law firm's deal with Indiana grows

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Indiana's legal bill in its lawsuit with IBM Corp. over a canceled welfare outsourcing contract could grow by more than half its original value, but representatives for the administration of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels defended the costs Tuesday.

The administration of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels will pay as pay as much as $8.05 million through June 30 to the well-connected Indianapolis law firm of Barnes & Thornburg to represent the Family and Social Services Administration in the lawsuit with IBM under an amended contract approved Aug. 30 by the attorney general's office. The original contract approved a year ago paid the firm $5.25 million over the same term.

The firm's attorneys on the case include longtime Republican activist Peter Rusthoven and Brian Burdick, the brother of Daniels' deputy chief of staff.

FSSA is suing IBM to recover more than $400 million it paid before Daniels canceled the 10-year contract in 2009 amid complaints about the automated welfare system IBM installed. IBM argues FSSA owes the company about $100 million for costs including computer equipment the state has held onto..

Indiana House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, called the higher costs ""wasted money, good money after bad." Indiana Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington, said FSSA should be spending the money to help vulnerable people who have seen their benefits cut because of budget cuts.

FSSA spokesman Neal Moore said Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM "is doing all it can to run up the costs in hopes the state will give up."

However, IBM spokesman Clint Roswell said the company has sought to speed up the case but the trial was pushed back to next January at the request of the state.

Julia Vaughn, policy director for the government watchdog group Common Cause/Indiana, said the contract was "a sweetheart deal from get-go" for Barnes & Thornburg.

Daniels Press Secretary Jane Jankowski the firm's attorneys are "among the best in the business" and would not have been chosen if there had been a conflict of interest.

Barnes & Thornburg spokesman Ty Gerig said the firm would have no comment on the contract..

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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