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Did Florida overpay $16 million for a private prison contract? Rep. Richardson's reviews numbers

Richardson and K9via @MaryEllenKlas

For the last several years, Florida prison officials have used an opaque pricing scheme that inflated payments to a private prison company operating Lake City Correctional Facility, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in excess charges instead of producing the promised savings, according to an independent financial audit by a Miami Beach state legislator.

Rep. David Richardson, a Democrat and retired forensic auditor, investigated seven years of state payments to Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), now known as CoreCivic of Tennessee and concluded the pricing scheme approved by the Florida Department of Corrections resulted in at least $16 million in overcharges over the past seven years and was either the result of massive government ineptitude or a calculated fraud against taxpayers.

 

“The award of this contract under the terms and conditions provided was a colossal government failure,” Richardson wrote in a nine-page summary of his findings, which he made available to the Herald/Times. “... It represents nothing more than government waste and abuse. It is surprising that so many government employees and entities could be involved in these matters and the price estimating trickery went undetected.”

Richardson, who has been on a one-man crusade to bring accountability to Florida’s troubled prison system, delivered a copy of his two-inch briefing book and a summary of his report to Florida’s Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel. He asked Miguel to conduct an investigation into potential criminal violations surrounding the Lake City Correctional Facility contract, as well as the six other Florida prisons operated by other vendors. This is the only prison CoreCivic now operates. Story here. 

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