California's attorney general has accused Hewlett-Packard Co. of hindering state and federal probes into potential defects in millions of computers sold by the company and other manufacturers, a spokesman for the attorney general said.
The issue centers on $27.5 million in consulting fees Hewlett-Packard paid to Phillip Adams, a computer expert who had alerted law enforcement officials about suspected flaws in disk drives, said Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer.
But during the investigations, Adams switched sides by selling a software fix to HP and pledging to help the company defend itself in future lawsuits, Dresslar said. "He got a $27.5-million payoff to quit working with us and stop being a whistle-blower," Dresslar said. "They misled us.... They didn't tell us about this deal."
Adams could not be reached for comment. HP said in a statement that the company "acted entirely ethically."