Ex-deputy CIO fined $30K

Mark Boster developed a reputation as an intimidating manager when he was

deputy chief information officer at the Justice Department. Now, as a businessman,

Boster is paying a $30,000 fine for what Justice officials charge was using

intimidation to try to continue influencing decisions at the department.

Boster, a former assistant attorney general, is accused of telephoning

his replacement at Justice and warning against a decision to drop a contract

with Science Applications International Corp., Boster's new employer.

The phone call occurred April 7, 1999, about two months after Boster

left Justice and went to work for SAIC, according to a settlement agreement

released by the department.

The call violated a federal law that prohibits former senior government

officials from contacting the government on behalf of their em-ployers within

a year of leaving office.

According to Justice, Boster telephoned his replacement and said he

knew that the department was considering not using SAIC on a new contract.

The settlement agreement said Boster warned that such a decision could require

a payment to SAIC that would force the department to go over budget, possibly

triggering legal action.

Boster denied the Justice allegations. "I have agreed to make a settlement

payment of $30,000 to avoid the expense and delay of protracted litigation,"

he said in a Sept. 1 statement. Boster said he did not contact Justice on

behalf of SAIC but said he had a conversation with a former co-worker in

which he warned that "actions being considered" could violate the law.

Justice said it agreed to settle the matter with a fine "to avoid the expense,

delay and uncertainty of protracted litigation."

As deputy CIO at Justice for five years, Boster was a "flamboyant and

opinionated" manager, said one former colleague, and oversaw $1.1 billion

worth of information technology programs.

In 1998 he pulled the plug on a $500 million office network project

and was criticized by those who wanted the project saved and by those who

thought he waited too long to decide. He also led efforts to improve computer

security.

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