Miami-Dade, vendor settle—and whistle-blower gets $1.25M — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Miami-Dade, vendor settle—and whistle-blower gets $1.25M

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Miami-Dade County has agreed to settle a long-running legal dispute with the Wackenhut security firm, and one of the biggest winners is a Wackenhut worker who blew the whistle on the company.

The battle began in 2005 when Michelle Trimble accused her employer of billing the county for 300 hours of work a week that no one was performing. The alleged overbilling amounted to $4.5 million per year.

When Trimble sued, she did so under the federal False Claims Act, which allows whistle-blowers to collect a portion of any recovery.

Under the settlement, Trimble will receive $1.25 million, her attorneys will receive $3.25 million and the county will recover $3 million.

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners voted 8-3 to accept the settlement. Chairman Dennis Moss, one of the three dissenters, advocated a trial where all overcharges could be brought to light.

The settlement wipes the slate clean for Wackenhut. The company may bid on future contracts with no adverse effects from the settlement. If current or former Wackenhut employees are charged with crimes related to the overcharges, Wackenhut can still pursue county contracts.

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