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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lawmakers issue subpoenas over $13 million contract

A legislative panel issued subpoenas on Wednesday for information from the state finance department and a company that is up for a $13 million state contract.
The legislative contract review committee issued subpoenas to Acting Finance Director Bill Newton and to Janet Lauderdale, chief executive officer of Paragon Consulting LLC.
The finance department is requesting an amendment to a contract with Paragon, which could pay the computer consulting company up to $13 million over four years.
State Rep. Alvin Holmes, chairman of the legislative contract review committee, and other members are requesting information about who is being paid through the no-bid, $13 million contract.
The committee voted 4-1 to issue the subpoenas on Wednesday.
Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said he thought the committee was going beyond its scope and questioned issuing a subpoena to a company that has performed the work it was asked to do through a contract with the state and was compensated accordingly.
Marsh was the only member of the committee to vote against the subpoenas.
The committee also approved a contract for $195 an hour up to $200,000 with attorney Tyrone Means of Thomas, Means, Gillis & Seay, P.C., to represent the committee in handling the contract between Paragon and the finance department.
Several people have been critical of the no-bid contract because the company has no listed phone number, e-mail address or Web site, and the headquarters for Paragon are listed as personal residences in Virginia and in a gated community in east Montgomery. Holmes asked the governor not to sign the contract, but spokesmen for Gov. Bob Riley have said lawyers have looked at the contract and not found any legal concerns.
Newton said the company has performed well in helping the state to revamp the computer system used for its finances including payroll and paying bills. The amendment to the contract would also include funding for Paragon to help the state comply with requirements of the federal stimulus funds.
The committee requested documents from Paragon and the finance department about the name of each person and subcontractor paid through the contract and how much they received, their address, a description of the work they performed, and copies of the invoices and supporting documents related to payments under contracts with Paragon.
They were told to turn over the documents by Oct. 14.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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