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Thu Apr 1, 2021, 07:31 AM

Prison official steered $123 million contract, via private e-mail, to company that then hired him.


"A Tennessee prison official steered a $123 million state contract to a health care firm before taking a job as a vice president at the same company, according to an antitrust lawsuit filed against the Department of Correction.

The lawsuit centers on the 2020 contract to provide behavioral health care to Tennessee prison inmates. In the suit, Brentwood-based prison health care company Corizon accuses the state of skewing the public bidding process to benefit its competitor, Centurion.

Documents produced during discovery and provided to The Tennessean appear to show then-Department of Correction official Wes Landers used a private email account to give Centurion multiple updates and state documents throughout the process.
the lawsuit, Corizon said the state rigged the requirements of the behavioral health contract so that Centurion would be the only company with the financial resources to get it.

Corizon lawyers said the state altered its original bid request to require a "maximum liability" performance bond, which company lawyers said was worth a prohibitive $118 million. The original request called for a $1 million performance bond.

Requests for proposals are often altered. But this change was so unusual, "Corizon assumed at first it was a mistake," the company's amended lawsuit stated."...(more)

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