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Ex-Analyst Gets Part of $1.7 Million Settlement : Whistle-blower: Firm settles lawsuit after worker says he was fired from county job because he challenged a decision to purchase $13.7-million computer system.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After several lengthy legal battles following the loss of his job, whistle-blower Allen M. Weil is going to be compensated for what he believed was a bad deal between a computer company and his former boss, the county Office of Education.

“I was a computer person who was interested in seeing that the taxpayer got a fair return for their money,” Weil said after a settlement was reached this week in Norwalk Superior Court. “In spite of the public’s criticism of bureaucracy, there are employees that are working for them.”

Bull HN Information Systems agreed this week to pay $1.725 million, including $350,000 to Weil. Weil’s computer analyst position was eliminated after he challenged a decision by county school officials to purchase a $13.7-million computer system from the firm.

Weil, who lives in Downey and remains unemployed, said he suffered health and emotional problems after losing his job, but did not regret his decision to challenge the contract.

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“If I had to do it over again, I would do it,” he said. “These people were not criminals, but they did do something they shouldn’t do. And this behavior should not be condoned.”

Weil said his supervisors asked him to produce false data showing that a new computer system was needed because the old one was overburdened. When Weil refused, the administrators prepared the materials with the assistance of a salesman from the computer company, his attorneys said.

County education administrators later used the information to mislead the county Board of Education into purchasing the computer system in January, 1991, even though it was not needed, according to court documents.

As part of the settlement, the Massachusetts-based computer company agreed to pay the county education office at least $675,000. Weil’s attorneys will receive $350,000. A judge will decide whether to award the remaining $350,000 to the county or to the state attorney general’s office, which was involved in the case. The computer company admitted no wrongdoing.

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Weil had filed a lawsuit in March, 1993, alleging that the computer company and three county education administrators defrauded the school board. Because the suit sought damages on behalf of the county education office, Weil and his attorneys received a share of the $1.725-million settlement.

The county Board of Education is expected to accept the settlement at its Tuesday meeting.

It was the second legal victory for Weil, 63, an analyst who worked 17 years for the education office before his dismissal in March, 1993. After the firing, he sued for wrongful termination.

Last year, a jury awarded Weil nearly $1.6 million. The education office has appealed, and the case probably will not be heard until the end of this year, Weil’s attorneys said.

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Administrators have maintained that they did nothing wrong and have characterized Weil as a vindictive malcontent. Weil’s job was eliminated because of a budget crunch, not because of his criticism, officials said.

“We have never believed that there was a case there, period,” county Supt. Donald W. Ingwerson said.


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