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Alleged BTOP/NTIA Fraud - $25M lawsuit filed over BTOP/NTIA funds in Florida
- Subject: Alleged BTOP/NTIA Fraud - $25M lawsuit filed over BTOP/NTIA funds in Florida
- From: himileanmedia at gmail.com (Himilean Media)
- Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 21:56:55 -0700
Wondering if this lawsuit has or will potentially affect any other NANOG
My understanding is that anyone that was counting (planning) on this
infrastructure in rural Florida for middle-mile or long-haul transport
should now seek alternative options?
On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM, FierceTelecom wrote:
> Rapid Systems Seeks $25 Million From FRBA With Lawsuit Filing
> Tampa, Florida based Rapid Systems, Inc. announced April 19 it filed a $25
> Million suit against the Florida Rural Broadband Alliance (FRBA) along with
> several co-defendants.
> Rapid Systems is a wireless broadband Internet service provider that
> entered an agreement with FRBA and others to provide broadband network
> support for a project developed with Broadband Opportunities Grants awarded
> in Florida as part of a government economic stimulus program. The grant
> totaled $23 Million. Rapid Systems allege in the complaint that after
> providing the agreed services, equipment and in-kind contributions totaling
> $2 Million, the FRBA and several co-defendants failed to pay Rapid Systems
> for any of the services or expenses rendered under the agreement. Rapid
> Systems is seeking to recover not only its own investment but also fees,
> costs and lost revenue as a result of FRBA's actions.
> The grant money FRBA received is intended to develop the infrastructure
> needed for wireless Internet service in rural Florida counties. The program
> is intended to bridge the gap between large public service providers and
> small and often poor rural communities without the economic impact to
> attract private investment for wireless broadband connectivity networks.
> A similar program was already funded as the North Florida Broadband
> Authority and has seen similar litigation and various towns and counties
> pulling out of the program. After three years and over $28 Million federal
> dollars invested in the NFBA, there are a confirmed 60 customers using the
> services. Both the NFBA and RFBA are currently under federal investigation.
> Questions of mismanagement, fraud, misinformation and misappropriating
> funds have dogged the grant recipients almost since their inception early
> in the Obama administration?s economic recovery efforts.
> Rapid Systems has also included some public official in its complaint
> alleging a coordinated effort with the FRBA to defame the plaintiff in an
> effort to justify not paying the outstanding balances. The lawsuit filed in
> Hardee County Circuit Court details a complicated ?fraud scheme?
> perpetrated by FRBA?s management to keep from paying out various invoices
> and accounts. Rapid Systems has told the court all contracted work was
> performed to agreed standards and payment is now due.
> There was no immediate word from the court or federal authorities if the
> Rapid Systems suit will, in any way, affect the ongoing investigation into
> the FRBA or NFBA. Also, federal authorities have offered no confirmed time
> frame for completing their investigation. Whether the federal investigation
> could impact Rapid Systems and their alleged claims remains unclear.
> Source Lawsuit: