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Looks Like Massachusetts Will Be Asking IBM for its Money Back

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It looks like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is going to be asking IBM’s Cognos acquisition for its $13 million back because the only reason Cognos got the performance management software contract last year was because it had Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi in its pocket – from the very beginning when the requirement was voiced – even though it was unclear how the state would use the stuff.

At least that’s the story retailed by the Boston Globe and it’s quoting the state inspector general who found that the contract was improperly awarded. The inspector general think the state ought to seek a refund.

According to the paper, “DiMasi personally met with the state’s chief information officer to push for the kind of software that Cognos produces. A middleman in that deal, Joseph Lally, portrayed himself to key state officials as DiMasi friend. A long-time DiMasi friend, Richard McDonough, was hired as a lobbyist for Cognos and was paid $100,000 by the company. The result of the process was a contract award that violated basic state bidding rules.”

Lally, by the way, used to be VP of sales at Cognos.

Oracle and SAS underbid Cognos but the way things were structured the state didn’t have to take the lowest bid and the funds were approved by a special bill quickly passed by the state legislature.

The inspector general found the process flawed every which way from Sunday.

Interesting that this is Massachusetts and involves the Massachusetts CIO’s office, which was in the past ever so helpful in raising the profile of the Open Document Format on behalf of its close advisors IBM and Sun – even if it failed to deliver the state wholly to ODF.

See http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/03/10/software_contract_called_improper/.

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