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A former employee of Sable Communications of Georgia has filed an affidavit bolstering former Sable President George Greene’s claim that he was working for Hitachi Data Systems when he bribed officials in Fulton County, Ga. In an affidavit filed last month in Fulton Superior Court, Sable’s former Vice President for Operations Gerry Carter said that Greene had an agreement with Hitachi to influence Fulton officials to award Hitachi multimillion-dollar contracts for Y2K consulting and the Criminal Justice Information System database. CJIS is a computer system that tracks information for law enforcement agencies and the courts. “Hitachi had received confidential information from George Greene regarding budget information, IT budget strategy, and the expected vote of each Commissioner on Y2K and CJIS issues,” he said. The allegations surfaced as part of a tangle of litigation among Sable, Hitachi and Greene. In June 2000, Greene pleaded guilty to bribing former Fulton County Commissioner Michael Hightower, and Joshua Kenyon, chief of staff to former Commission Chairmen Demetrios J. “Mitch” Skandalakis and Michael Kenn. After the plea, Hitachi severed its business relations with Sable, and Sable sued, accusing the company of breach of contract and tortious interference with a contract. Hitachi countered by suing Sable and Greene individually for breach of contract, defamation and fraud. Sable Communications v. Hitachi Data Systems, No. 00CV30501 (Fult. Super. Nov. 9, 2000). Greene has not been sentenced and is cooperating with federal authorities in an ongoing investigation of county government, according to his attorney, Jeffrey B. Bogart of Bogart & Bogart. On the basis of Greene’s affidavit, Hitachi was denied summary judgment in December. BRIBERY DISPUTE At his federal plea hearing, Greene had said he bribed Kenyon and Hightower on behalf of Sable, his small computer company. But in an affidavit filed in July 2001, Green claimed that Hitachi employees had given him money and encouraged him to pay off Fulton officials to help Hitachi win contracts. In his affidavit, Greene said he did not inform his wife and other Sable officials what he was doing. Greene’s former company and his wife might stand to benefit if he can show that Hitachi was the instigator of the bribes. Greene turned over his interest in Sable to his wife, who now owns all of the enterprise. However, the county still refuses to do business with Sable, despite the company’s claim that the bribes should be blamed solely on Greene. Proving that Greene really was acting for Hitachi might bolster the company’s bid to lift the ban on its doing business with the county. If true, the allegation would be the first indication that corruption in the county bidding process possibly tainted even large multinational companies seeking to do business with Fulton. Hitachi denies any participation in Greene’s bribery scheme or any other wrongdoing in its business dealings with Fulton. Hitachi Data Systems, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is one of 1,069 subsidiaries of Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd., an electronics and industrial colossus that posted $86.8 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001. Hitachi Data Systems has 2,600 employees and does business in 170 countries. If Greene’s claims are true, they could draw the multinational into the federal probe of corruption in local government. MORE MANEUVERING Troutman Sanders’ Mark S. VanderBroek, who represents Hitachi, said “Hitachi categorically denies that it knew of, encouraged or participated in Greene’s illegal activity — or any illegal activity of any kind.” According to documents filed Feb. 27, the charges have led to another round of legal maneuvering. Greene has been unwilling to answer questions about the charges he made in his affidavit. During a deposition earlier this year, Greene repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when opposing counsel tried to probe his claims that Hitachi aided his illegal activities. Greene’s lawyer in the civil case, Mann & Moran’s Teresa A. Mann, did not return a phone call seeking comment. After that deposition Hitachi lawyers moved to strike Greene’s affidavit, and renew their motion for summary judgment, unless he agreed to submit to cross-examination on his claims. Senior Judge L.A. McConnell ordered Greene to sit for another deposition in April, with the court present to rule on Greene’s Fifth Amendment assertions. Shortly after that, however, Sable’s lawyer Theodore H. Lackland, of Lackland & Associates, secured Carter’s statement. This new affidavit, he said, makes Hitachi’s need to depose Greene less pressing. “With this affidavit on record, there is no urgency to depose George Greene as a condition for going forward,” he wrote. Rather, the company can depose Carter and then go on to depose the Hitachi employees named in the affidavit, he wrote. “If Greene’s affidavit doesn’t convince them that they have a problem, then this guy’s affidavit should,” Lackland said. Carter, who managed information technology projects for Sable between 1994 and 1999, said Hitachi and Sable had an agreement in 1998 to try to secure the $11.5 million Fulton contract for Y2K services. Under the agreement, Hitachi paid Sable an hourly rate for Carter’s work. However, Carter said Greene was to receive a “success fee” if the county awarded the contract to Hitachi, and a monthly payment for maintaining the contract. “These fees were separate and apart from any money due Sable for its work on the contract,” he said in his affidavit. Carter is not charged with any crimes in the investigation. The county awarded the contract to Hitachi in February 1998, and Sable earned $5.8 million as a subcontractor. Under a similar agreement in 1999, Sable helped Hitachi pursue the $19 million Criminal Justice Information System contract. The Fulton County CJIS committee recommended IBM based on the written and oral presentations, according to Carter. However, the commission awarded the contract to Hitachi, on the basis of Fulton County Information Technology Director John Rowan’s recommendation. Sable earned $1.9 million as Hitachi’s minority subcontractor. PAID FOR HOURS NOT WORKED? Carter insinuates that some of the money Hitachi gave Greene came from bogus accounting. In 1998, the company, he said, “paid George Greene for hours he did not work.” And some of the money, Carter said, came from other employees’ phantom hours. “In 1999 Hitachi intentionally exaggerated my hours and the extra money was paid to George Greene,” he said. “I do not know what use he made of the money.” Neither Greene nor Carter have said how much money Greene claims to have received from Hitachi for distribution to Fulton officials. In Hitachi’s reply to Lackland’s efforts, VanderBroek called Carter’s affidavit “an effort to forestall Mr. Greene’s deposition.” The statement, he wrote, “consists primarily of hearsay and speculation,” and may unintentionally reinforce his client’s position. “Indeed, Carter’s affidavit instead confirms Greene’s motivation to bribe Fulton officials on behalf of his family business, Sable — Greene knew that if Hitachi was awarded Fulton County’s Y2K and CJIS contracts, Sable would receive millions of dollars,” he wrote. Greene, Hightower and Kenyon all pleaded guilty to bribery charges in June 2000. Hightower admitted accepting about $25,000 from Greene to influence the commission’s vote. Kenyon admitted receiving $14,000 for the same purpose. However, only Hightower, who finished serving a six-month sentence in 2001, has been sentenced. Kenyon and Green still await sentencing. Lackland said this might pose Greene some trouble as to what he can say in a deposition. “Greene has a problem in that anything he says may impact his situation personally,” he said. Bogart, who represents Greene in the criminal case with co-counsel Wilmer “Buddy” Parker III, called his client “an involuntary participant in this case [the civil suit between Sable and Hitachi].” “He didn’t sue Hitachi,” he said. “He didn’t ask to be brought into this.” Bogart said criminal proceedings involving his client have not concluded. Since 2000, Greene has had no official connection with Sable. Greene’s wife, Elaine, has been attempting to undo the damage her husband’s guilty plea did the company. Following Greene’s bribery plea, County Manager Thomas C. Andrews ordered that Sable be removed from the list of companies eligible to do business with the county. In a report following a hearing in 2000, Andrews wrote that the county never had done business with Greene outside of his role as a principal in Sable Communications. Arguing that Sable and Lackland were not one and the same, Sable filed a petition for certiorari in Fulton Superior Court, requesting that the court lift the ban. During arguments in March 2001 on the petition, Lackland argued that Greene had been working for someone other than Sable when he bribed Hightower and Kenyon. However, Judge Jerry W. Baxter denied Sable’s request. Sable Communications v. Fulton County, No. 00CV30442 (Fult. Super. Nov. 9, 2000). In his reply to Lackland’s request to postpone Greene’s deposition, VanderBroek notes that Greene pleaded guilty to bribing Kenyon and Hightower on behalf of Sable. If Greene now wants to claim otherwise, he wrote, Hitachi’s lawyers should be able to investigate his claims. “This affidavit testimony waived whatever remaining Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination [Greene] might still have had on the subjects discussed in the affidavit, and entitle[s] Hitachi to fully cross-examine him on those subjects,” VanderBroek wrote. “It is now time for that cross-examination to be taken.”

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