The HP Saga: Investigator Identified? And New Outside Counsel Arrives

13 Sep ’06

More news on the HP saga today, including some interesting pieces from the WSJ and the Recorder, all noted by the WSJ’s (really, quite excellent) Law Blog. First, it appears that one of HP’s mystery investigators may now have been identified:

The WSJ is reporting this morning that one of the investigators connected to the case is Ronald DeLia, from a small Needham, Mass., firm called Security Outsourcing Solutions that says it specializes in corporate-security investigations. H-P has said that it hired a P.I. firm to carry out its inquiry, and that firm in turn hired a second entity that used “pretexting,” or false identification, to obtain the private phone records of board members and journalists.

The WSJ story has detail that suggests that this is not going to be pretty for HP:

Answering the front door of the two-story house in Needham yesterday, Mrs. DeLia declined to comment and referred all questions to her husband, who she said wasn’t home. A woman who identified herself as a relative said Mr. DeLia performed work for H-P but declined to elaborate. She referred all questions to Mr. DeLia.

Records show Mr. DeLia managed a Boston restaurant called the Grill and Cue before starting Security Outsourcing Solutions. The Grill and Cue, a 6,000-square-foot upscale billiards club and restaurant, opened in 1995 and went out of business in 1997, records show.

and surely, impossibly ironically:

In a 1999 edition of the newsletter, Mr. DeLia warned that “identity theft is becoming a major law-enforcement problem about which consumers can ill afford to become indifferent.” The newsletter said the Internet had made it easier for identity thieves to obtain addresses and Social Security numbers for a fee.

Set against the self-congratulatory tone of HP’s press release (gamely) putting this issue to rest, this is beginning to sound like parody. At first I thought HP was withholding the investigator’s identity because of NDA restrictions (and that’s what the company has fessed up to), but now ….

Also, the Recorder has apparently reported on what might be the mystery additional outside counsel I noted in an earlier post, though this sounds more like a mandate to help HP manage the mess. Again, from the WSJ Law Blog:

The Recorder reports (sub. required) that there’s another outside lawyer besides Larry Sonsini working for H-P. The tech company has hired lawyers at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which sat down with San Francisco federal prosecutors on Monday as part of a “proffer” session. In “proffer” session, a company offers up information to the feds in an effort to show cooperation with the investigation. John Hemann, a Morgan Lewis partner who until last year was an AUSA in San Fran, reportedly attended the meeting.

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