Underhanded dealings are the subject of the day in consulting news, the perfect way to whip everyone into a frenzy of illegal and immoral deeds at the dawn of a new weekend. Don't blame me, blame the consulting news.
First up we hear from New York State, where the young administration headed by Governor Andrew Cuomo is running into a spot of bother. And not just any spot of bother—a consulting spot of bother! Governor Cuomo, who famously vowed to exercise "zero tolerance" with regards to ethical violations during last year's campaign, is under fire for his ambiguous ties to one Jeffrey Sachs (not the economist), the owner of a regional health care consulting firm. The New York Times, which broke the story earlier this week, Sachs Consulting counts "several major New York hospitals) among its clients. Now, here's the problem: Sachs not only works for his eponymous consulting firm, he also doubles as a member of the governor's Medicaid Redesign Team and also served as a special adviser to Cuomo's 2010 campaign. Unfortunately for the pair of them, the Times has uncovered evidence that suggests that several of Sachs' clients have enjoyed unprecedented success winning state funds ever since Cuomo took office. It turns out that Sachs is somewhat of a personal advisor and friend of the Governor's, and that Sachs was instrumental in placing several key health officials in positions of power in the new administration. Put one and one together (or one and one and one and one….) and it's pretty clear that something is amiss here. "Zero tolerance" indeed! But no matter: leave it to the professionals—the consultants—to wriggle out of this net.
Infosys, the Indian IT provider and advisory powerhouse, can't possibly have much going on in small town Alabama, right? Not so. Not only does the firm have a presence amongst the To Kill A Mockingbird scenery, it'll need to produce its very own Atticus Finch if it hopes to avoid facing charges of fraud in a local court. Principal consultant Jack Palmer, an Infosys employee since 2008, claims in an Alabama county court suit that his employer regularly engages in both visa and tax fraud in a bid to maximize profits. At the center of the allegations are H-1B visas, regularly sought by Infosys in order to facilitate the transfer of Indian employees to the United States. Palmer says that he was asked on several occasions to draft false documents to bypass or speed up the application process; his managers, he alleges, were well aware of the illegality of their requests but advised Palmer to "keep quiet". Palmer refused to execute the illegal requests, and suffered for it; since he filed an internal report about the abuses, he claims he has been "subjected to constant harassment, threats, and retaliation," ranging from the usual intimidation ("threatening phone calls", "refusal to pay bonuses", etc.) to the hilariously idiotic ("being called a 'stupid America' and criticized for being a Christian"). Palmer is seeking punitive damages for a slew of legal violations, for which he claims to have hard evidence.
Happy weekend! Don't do anything weird.
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