Civil jurors in New Orleans found Dell Inc. liable for $16.3 million in damages on unfair trade and conspiracy claims regarding a lawsuit over New Orleans city ill-fated crime camera program.
Former City Technology Chief Greg Meffert and top aide to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, is among the defendants listed in the lawsuit brought by Southern Electronics Supply and Active Solutions, two local camera companies left out in the cold by the city.
According to the two companies, Dell conspired with Meffert and vendor Mark St. Pierre to undercut their contract to develop, install and maintain the city's camera surveillance network.
The trial gained interest from the Fox News Nowhere to Hide team when a parallel federal criminal investigation uncovered a series of trips Nagin took with Meffert and their families, all charged to a city credit card. Evidence also showed that Meffert was given the credit card to help the St. Pierre and then collected consulting fees of $67,000 a month immediately upon leaving public office.
Meffert is a target in a parallel federal criminal probe into the handling of the contracts, but denies the allegations. The plaintiffs hoping to be awarded between $660 million and $2billion for alleged lost sales.
Meffert issued the following statement Monday afternoon following the verdict:
"Though I am relieved that the jury saw through some of this witch hunt, I'm disappointed that a majority of the jury found that I may have been liable for a small portion of the accusations, and we have a strong appeal underway. I am not giving up: the truth will win out and our significant advancements will be reinstated as the record of my service to the city I love.
This verdict and trial attest to the injustice of a politically-motivated newspaper partnering with profit-driven plaintiff lawyers. This unholy alliance destroyed my reputation and my ability to make a living for my family; clearly, the justice system can be manipulated in the name of money and politics.
The paper’s actions went beyond bad journalism in its efforts to deprive me of my civil rights. The newspaper obviously feels it is an authority higher than our legal system, even betraying the public trust, and I am forced to pursue legal recourse against them for intentional damage.
My family has suffered relentless, intentionally erroneous and mean-spirited attacks by the newspaper attempting to prejudice a jury. This indecent alliance aborted journalistic objectivity and misled our justice system.
Together as a family we will attempt to rebuild lives that have been irreparably damaged. I remain grateful and humbled by the steadfast love and support of my wife, family and many others."