A company that was hailed by Enterprise Florida and Gov. Rick Scott when it decided to move to Florida last year has wasted no time getting into legal trouble.
The company, BlueWare Inc., is being sued by the Brevard County Clerk of Court after a $8.6 million contract has gone sour.
The company is supposed to digitize millions of pages of records for the clerk’s office under a five-year, $8.6 million contract. But recently elected Clerk of Court Scott Ellis slammed the contract as corrupt and filed a lawsuit last week to recoup millions of dollars.
“The entire bidding, selection and negotiation process regarding the (Invitation to Negotiate) was fundamentally flawed and against public policy because BlueGEM was intricately involved in the preparation of the ITN itself and essentially drafted the same,” the lawsuit reads.
Ellis put it more plainly in a recent interview: “It was a sham bid.”
Ellis blames his predecessor, who lost a 2012 primary race for reelection, for entering into the poorly written contract and paying BlueWare millions of dollars upfront before the work could be done.
Ellis said BlueWare’s vice president was a former business partner with the clerk.
Indeed, a flag-raising 2012 internal memo from the clerk’s legal counsel stated: “There may be a civilian insider who will gain a benefit from the awarding of this contract.”
According to the lawsuit, two other companies submitted bids for the digitization contract and would have charged less. BlueWare executives were allowed to participate in the selection process and the company was ultimately selected, the lawsuit states.
Executives at BlueWare could not be immediately reached for comment.
The company received incentives awards from the state worth $1.3 million, including a $560,000 cash grant for start-up costs.