State Joins Suit on Sale of Computer

The state attorney general's office has joined a $45-million lawsuit against a major computer firm accused of providing false information to the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

The lawsuit alleges that computer giant Bull HN Information Systems Inc. of Billerica, Mass., helped mislead the county school board about the need to buy an $8.6-million computer system. The board voted to buy the system in January, 1991, and did purchase it.

The suit, filed by former county computer analyst Allen M. Weil, also charges that top county education administrators participated in the alleged deception. The officials and the computer company have denied any wrongdoing.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Brian Taugher said the state decided to join the lawsuit because the case has merit.

"It appears that misrepresentations were made to the Board of Education about the need for a new computer," Taugher said.

County auditors came to the same conclusion in a report released earlier this year. However, senior county education officials contested that finding. An internal department investigation reported no evidence of wrongdoing.

Under state whistle-blower laws, Weil would split any judgment or settlement in the case with the attorney general's office and the state treasury.

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