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Contact: Steve Jensen

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today announced that she is seeking to force IBM to repay nearly $18.9 million it received for a major state computer project that was never finished - a situation that Wyman called a shocking waste of tax dollars.

Acting in her capacity as the state's chief fiscal guardian, Wyman today asked the attorney general to investigate whether legal action can be taken to recover the funds IBM was paid to upgrade computer systems at the state Department of Labor.

"IBM walked away from this project after being paid nearly $19 million for a computer system that simply does not work," Wyman said. "They basically sold the State of Connecticut a car without an engine."

IBM was hired in 1991 to replace the labor department's computer mainframe, and to develop and implement a new software system to administer the state's unemployment insurance program. Both phases of the project were to be completed by 1993.

A recent report from the independent Office Of Legislative Research (OLR) stated that the project was abandoned in 1996, leaving the labor department with computer hardware it cannot use and a software system that will take 36,000 more hours to complete.

The OLR report said that while IBM delivered the computer mainframe, it failed to complete the software system, also known as a GUIDE system.

Wyman today forwarded a written request to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to investigate whether the state can take legal action against IBM to recover the $18.9 million. Wyman noted that the state also had to spend approximately another $3.5 million for outside consultants and state employees who brought the labor department's old computer system up to par after IBM failed to deliver the new one.

"This is a shocking waste of taxpayer dollars," Wyman said. "IBM did not finish the job it was paid to do. As comptroller, I consider it my duty to recover that money for the taxpayers of our state."

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For Immediate Release
September 9, 1998

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