Thursday, March 30, 2017


Virginia was apparently in such a hurry to get the report on the Tech massacre out, that it made no provision for errors, omissions, and corrections. This glaring oversight by then-Governor Kaine and then-Attorney General McDonnell (and their legal staffs) may be explained by the cozy relationship that exists between the state and TriData. TriData was already doing business with Virginia when it was hired to write the Virginia Tech report. The conflict of interest is readily apparent—the state of Virginia hired a company that already relied on part of its income coming from contracts with the state, to write a report analyzing whether or not the state’s largest university was in any way at fault (and thereby liable) in the massacre on April 16, 2007. It is stupefying that two career lawyers, then-Governor Kaine and then-Attorney General McDonnell, did not see this point.

Remember, TriData has had at least one other contract with the state of Virginia and probably will be bidding for more. Did Governor Kaine’s office look at other qualified individuals or firms? Or, did Virginia’s government go with a firm with whom the state already had business relations and on whom the state could count to come up with the right analysis?

For their part, it is hard to believe that TriData would want to kill the cash cow (Virginia) by writing a critical report. Indeed, a report that would seem to exonerate the state’s largest university and the school’s president from any wrongdoing might endear TriData to the power elite in Richmond. Even if TriData had not previously done business with the state, they might have been angling for future contracts. Then-Governor Kaine and then-Attorney General McDonnell should have bent over backwards to ensure there was no cloud of suspicion hanging over the firm the state chose to write the Virginia Tech report. That they did not, and in fact paid yet more money for corrections to a report that should have been above reproach the first time, gives the worst possible impression.

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