Not that anyone expected him to, but state auditor Jim Zeigler isn’t giving up quietly on his lawsuit claiming the state violated competitive bid laws when purchasing software and support for it State of Alabama Accounting and Resource System, or STAARS.
The Alabama Supreme Court tossed the lawsuit last month, but on Thursday Zeigler and his attorneys filed a motion asking for a rehearing, claiming the court erred in its findings and in the process “neutered” state law that requires a competitive bid process.
“This Court’s ruling eviscerates the Competitive Bid laws of this State and basically gives a green light for corrupt officials to award state contracts to their buddies,” Zeigler’s filing reads. “This Court, unwittingly we are sure, has sent a message to the public officials in this state that they can knowingly violate the Competitive Bid laws of this State by entering into a no bid contract and as long as they terminate the contract before a taxpayer can obtain a ruling that the contract is void, there is nothing anybody can do about it.”
Zeigler filed his lawsuit after discovering that state officials bypassed the bid process when selecting a vendor for the STAARS software and support. Instead, state finance officials and the vendor. CGI Technologies and Solutions, rewrote a dormant — but still technically valid — contract from 1982.
Zeigler claims that process has ended up costing the state millions of dollars and delivered a mostly unusable product. Most of Zeigler’s claims in his original lawsuit had been tossed by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge James Anderson, but Anderson allowed Zeigler’s claim that the contract violated state’s competitive law to move forward.
The ALSC spiked that claim, noting that the CGI contract was due to expire shortly.
However, attorneys for Zeigler claim that simply because the contract has ended should not be cause to not hold the state responsible for violating the law.
“This Court should allow this case to proceed through the normal course of litigation so that the truth behind this unquestionably illegal scheme can be discovered,” Zeigler’s filing reads. “It is inconceivable that the taxpayers can have to endure the loss of millions of their tax dollars under a void and illegal contract, without any alternative but to say, ‘Oh, well, we tried but all we can do is pay more taxes to cover this multi-million dollar illegal expenditure.’
“How in the world can that be the law?”