Nelson Mullins, Experian, South Carolina, Idendity Theft, $100,000.00
Posted in the Columbia Forum
#1 Oct 25, 2013
Law firm (Nelson Mullins) tries to clear up confusion about how Experian deal reached
November 27, 2012
COLUMBIA — Thad Westbrook of Nelson Mullins, a law firm representing the state in the aftermath of a massive cyber breach now says NO competitors were contacted before the state reached a $12 million no-bid contract with Experian.
Attorney Jon Neiditz of Columbia firm Nelson Mullins said the confusion over whether the firm had contacted other credit monitoring companies resulted from an unclear statement made by another attorney, Thad Westbrook.
The Revenue Department reached an initial agreement with Experian just before the breach affecting millions of current and former S.C. taxpayers was first announced publicly on Oct. 26.
The confusion over whether Thad Westbrook of Nelson Mullins ever reached out to Experian competitors began at an Oct. 30 Senate Finance Committee hearing from comments from Nelson Mullins attorney Thad Wetbrook.
Revenue Department Director James Etter, who is resigning effective at the end of this year, correctly told senators that no other companies were contacted besides Experian.
But Nelson Mullins attorney Thad Westbrook immediately followed up and told senators that pricing was obtained from two other firms but Experian had the ability to scale up quickly in an emergency situation.
Weeks after the hearing, Revenue Department spokeswoman Samantha Cheek named the other two companies that Nelson Mullins had obtained estimates from as Citreas and Identity Force.
Obtaining pricing information from Experian competitors and examination did not include reaching out to them.
Neiditz said he had pre-existing pricing information from various cyber security companies and knew Experian could offer the best deal. The leaders of other firms have disputed that assessment.
Neiditz said Monday that Thad Westbrook’s statement during the hearing caused confusion.
“It wasn’t clear,” Neiditz said.“It led to the impression that other companies had been contacted....I mentioned those vendors to him.”
Some senators have expressed concerns about the state’s NO-BID contract with Experian.
Anderson GOP Sen. Kevin Bryant said it’s worrisome that no other companies were approached following the breach.
“This snowball just keeps getting bigger and bigger as time goes by,” Bryant is co-chairman of a new oversight panel tasked with looking into the cyber attack.
Normally, state contracts are struck following a request for proposals from various companies.
The law states “competition as is practicable SHALL be obtained.”
Neiditz recommended Experian to his firm, which then recommended Experian to the state. Nelson Mullins and their attorneys are being paid an estimated $100,000 for its work assisting the state.
...EXPERIAN and two competitors as Thad Westbrook and Cheek said, but NEVER contacted any of them before deciding on Experian.
Neiditz said he first contacted Experian on Oct. 23, three days before the breach was announced.
Etter had told senators during the hearing that Experian was first contacted on Oct. 25.
The Secret Service alerted state officials to the breach on Oct. 10.
“As a result, I don’t think that those business models received full consideration. Neither did other companies.”
The CEOs of Citreas and Identity Force said that their pricing would have been competitive with Experian and their services would have been superior in some ways.
Vendors likely would have been beating down the state’s doors and possibly could have provided a better deal...
Nelson Mullins and their attorneys are being paid an estimated $100,000.00
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