CRIM seeking $9M in damages from tech provider

Written by  //  January 30, 2013  //  Government  //  No comments

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crimThe Municipal Revenue Collections Center is suing New York-based Infor Inc. for $9 million in damages related to the provider’s alleged inability to maintain software that the Puerto Rico government agency purchased in 2006.

In a breach of contract civil suit filed this week in the U.S. District Court in San Juan, the agency known as CRIM for its initials in Spanish, explained that six years ago, it bought a license to use Hansen Information Technologies Inc.’s tax system to improve its management of property appraisals, tax collections and distribution of funds to municipalities and to help it serve taxpayers better through efficient processes that the system had to offer.

To implement the system, CRIM brought in San Juan-based Rock Solid Technologies — Hansen’s local partner — to install and provide maintenance, according to the lawsuit initially filed at the San Juan Superior Court but transferred to the federal forum Tuesday.

Things apparently soured in 2007, when Infor bought Hansen and required CRIM to re-negotiate its terms with Infor to secure maintenance services and necessary system modifications, which had yet to be implemented when Hansen was sold.

The negotiations between CRIM and the stateside provider led to signing three separate contracts totaling about $1.1 million.

“The services provided by Infor have been very deficient and negligent since the beginning of Infor’s contractual relationship with CRIM in 2010. CRIM’s information systems office employees and its external consultants on this topic had serious communication, assistance and cooperation problems with the defendant,” the agency said in the lawsuit.

The interaction between CRIM’s information systems office employees and Infor’s technicians led the agency’s employees to believe that the original people who assisted them in implementing Hansen’s software stopped working for the company after it sold in 2007.

“This is evident based on the clear lack of knowledge demonstrated by the resources assigned by defendant INFOR about details on the operation of the operating system installed by Hansen/Rock Solid at CRIM in 2006,” the agency said in the suit, adding it had documented “33 instances when Infor failed to provide satisfactory answers to serious problems pertaining to both the maintenance of CRIM’s computerized taxpayer services systems, as well as the improvements contracted in 2010.”

The problems drove CRIM’s information system staff to come up with patches or workarounds to maintain the computerized system active and working.

“This task becomes very complicated and sometimes impossible because CRIM does not have the source code of the software for which Hansen initially acquired a limited license,” CRIM stated in the suit.

Because Infor has allegedly been unable to resolve “serious problems” in CRIM’s computerized systems — namely issues with compatibility, data integrity, management of reverse transactions, batch adjustments, management of overpayments and loss of information when the bankruptcy module is activated — the agency is claiming breach of contract.

The $9 million in damages sought would cover the money paid for the licenses, as well as overtime and compensatory payments made to CRIM employees dealing with the system problems, the agency said.

Additionally, CRIM is also asking the court to order Infor to turn over the source code for the Hansen tax system so that the agency’s team can develop solutions to the myriad problems it faces in its daily use of the system.

The case has been assigned to Judge Daniel R. Domínguez. Infor has yet to filed a response to the suit.

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