Y2K Project Manager Fired for Refusal to Lie About Costs

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This oughta chill all your bones... -- From: PLI Year 2000 Law List [mailto:PLI-Y2KLAW@PLI.EDU] On Behalf Of Hanson Research Service, Inc. Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 1998 10:59 AM To: PLI-Y2KLAW@PLI.EDU Subject: [PLI-Y2KLAW] Not your usual Y2K case

Here is a Y2K-related case with a new and different twist:

Skowronski v. Corrpro Companies, Inc., No. 98CIV0667 (Ohio Common Pleas Ct., Medina County, filed Sept. 9, 1998).

In the only case of this type to emerge thus far, Mark Skowronski charges that he was wrongfully terminated by Corrpro over disclosure of the anticipated cost to make Corrpro's computer systems Y2K compliant. According to the complaint, Skowronski, who was responsible for Corrpro's Year 2000 effort, was told by the Chief Financial Officer to inform an outside auditor that the cost to fix the Year 2000 computer problem was $600,000 to $700,000. That in fact was the amount spent to date, while the estimated total was $2 to $3 million. Skowronski told the CFO that he believed the auditors thought the lower figure was the company's estimate for the entire job. The CFO told Skowronski not to try to correct the auditors' mistaken impression. Skowronski replied that the company had a legal duty to disclose the full cost and that he would tell the auditors the truth if asked. Shortly thereafter Mr. Skowronski was terminated by Corrpro.

Causes of action are discharge in violation of public policy, breach of contract, and promissory estoppel. Skowronski seeks $500,000 compensatory damages, $10 million punitive damages, and costs. Attorneys for the plaintiff are Donald W. Davis, Jr. and Leonard J. Breiding, II of Akron's Slater & Zurz.

Regards, Louise Hanson Louise Hanson, President E-mail: lhanson@hansoninfo.com Hanson Research Services, Inc. Phone: (785) 832-9234 (business); 1628 Dudley Court (785) 841-3026 (home) Lawrence, KS 66044 Fax: (785) 832-9242

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-- Scott Johnson (scojo@yahoo.com), December 15, 1998


That kind of crap happens. You hear about it and go on. Just why is it bone-chilling though? Folks are asked to keep quiet about stuff all the time. Dare you to ask me where the 50 million went.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), December 15, 1998.

*shrug* Sorry...my bones are not even tepid yet. Money is lied about constatly. So? Doesn't change the fact the work was done, just how much it cost. Sorry...just can't get excited about it.


-- Rick Tansun (ricktansun@hotmail.com), December 15, 1998.

Okay, so you're not surprised. But here's why I think it should chill one's bones: it is a concrete example of why claims of compliance are suspect. Lying about the COST of remediation calls into question all other related claims; and this only points out that honesty on the Y2K issue is unlikely to be found.

Okay, so I'm not surprised either. But I wouldn't pooh-pooh things like this. This is in the same family as the DOD lying about having tested their weapons systems.


-- Scott Johnson (scojo@yahoo.com), December 15, 1998.

Yeah...bad as the public numbers are, this is a good indication that things are probably a lot worse.

-- Shimrod (shimrod@lycosmail.com), December 15, 1998.

Remember however that even if people (or bureacrats) have been told to lie, or have lied themselves, the program (or data) will just keep on rolling along. Until the programmer actually fixes it (and spends money/time doing the fixing and testing), it's still broken. It may not fail immediately, nor may it fail visibly and "vocally", but it (the problem) is still there being ignored.

Waiting to fail at a more "inconvenient" time.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 15, 1998.

Don't quite see it that way Scott. Lying to the SEC about costs or expenses is pretty common, esp. if the outfit in question is about to issue new stock. Lying about the level of Y2K compliance is an internal affair, and you are going to get caught when the program fails.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), December 16, 1998.

Thanks Scott. I agree it's chilling. I know lies like this happen all the time, and that's why I don't believe the estimated "600 billion spent on y2k worldwide". This is a drop in the ocean, but it's a proof.

People at large believe the 600 billion estimate, and that number has a psychological weight. 600 billion problem worldwide => not as bad as a 5 trillion problem =>we're ok.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), December 16, 1998.

Although this is obviously not really great news, it is still at this point more of an allegation rather than fact. I find it far more alarming the confirmed falsification of Y2K compliance that has come out recently (including on the headlines of USA TODAY a few weeks back). As it is finally becoming obvious that Y2K cannot be fixed -- at any price -- this deception will be ever more rampant.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 16, 1998.

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