Oracle and California: one of them can't count!

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They can’t both be right, but auditors for the State of California and those acting for Oracle have come up with conflicting numbers in the continuing row over a $95 million no-bid contract being investigated by a legislative committee.

The California State Auditor Elaine Howle insists that the contract would cost taxpayers up to $41 million more than it should, while Oracle has said it would save the state more than $100 million during the six- to 10-year contract.

Oracle has now wheeled out former California state auditor Kurt Sjoberg who said the contract could save the state as much as $163 million. Another auditor, hired by Oracle’s partner Logicon was more cautious, arguing that the state stands to save $50 million.

But the inquiry committee chairman Dean Florez cast doubt on the validity of the Oracle findings. "You get the numbers you pay for, and Oracle got those numbers,” he said.

Next week the committee will hear testimony from Oracle in the shape of Kevin Fitzgerald, Oracle's senior vice president for government, education and health, and five salesmen involved in the deal. But in a new twist government agencies in Ohio and Toronto have declined to testify despite going on the record with their own contractual problems with Oracle.

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