Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CCA Founder & Former CEO Sued for Theft

This story can be found here.

Crants, 19 others sued in theft claim

By Wendy Lee • THE TENNESSEAN • May 21, 2009

A former business partner is suing several entities connected to past Corrections Corporation of America CEO Doctor R. Crants Jr., accusing the groups of taking stolen money from a homeland security company both men worked on.

Bruce Siddle said in a federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Illinois that apparently 19 defendants knowingly accepted a total of more than $27.3 million stolen or unlawfully taken from Homeland Security Corp. The money could have been illegally taken from Siddle, his wife, a trust or Siddle's company PCCT Management Systems Inc., the lawsuit said.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois on Tuesday, is asking for more than $81.9 million in damages and names as defendants companies and individuals ranging from Connectgov Inc. to Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain that handled the accounting services to Homeland Security Corp.

"All allegations of misconduct about LBMC are just false," said Larry Thrailkill, the accounting firm's outside counsel. "They will be defending the litigation very vigorously."

Siddle's involvement with Homeland Security Corp. began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when he agreed to have all of PPCT stocks purchased by Homeland Security Corp. Crants founded Homeland Security Corp. in 2001 after he was ousted from Nashville-based prison operator Corrections Corporation of America.

Working together, Siddle and Crants went after contracts, including a deal that involved training 80,000 baggage screeners for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after the Sept. 11 attacks. The company also trained air marshals for Delta Air Lines.

Embezzlement alleged
Siddle sued Crants last year, alleging in part that Crants bilked Homeland Security Corp. of more than $41 million through self-dealings and embezzlement.

Siddle also listed others as defendants — including Crants' son, D. Robert Crants III, as allegedly defrauding Homeland Security Corp. and others who allegedly assisted the racketeering activity. That case is still pending in federal court in Nashville.

Bill Brewer, the attorney for Crants' son, said the claims against his client "lack any merit at all."

"It's one of these filings where fiction seems to have overtaken an investigation of the facts," Brewer said.

An attorney representing Crants did not immediately return a call for comment.

Wendy Lee can be reached at 615-259-8092 or wlee@tennessean.com.