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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. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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