Tennessee to rebid $123M contract amid rigging accusations

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FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, file photo, a red tag hangs on a cell door, signifying an active COVID-19 case for its inhabitants at Faribault Prison, in Faribault, Minn. A Tennessee advisory panel tasked with determining eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine acknowledged that prison inmates in the state were high risk, but concluded that prioritizing them for inoculation could be a “public relations nightmare.” (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Correction says it will rebid a $123 million contract for behavioral health services after a lawsuit accused a state official of rigging the bidding process.

In a complaint filed in federal court, Tennessee-based prison contractor Corizon claims the Correction Department’s former chief financial officer sent internal emails related to the contract to a vice president at Centurion of Tennessee.

The lawsuit claims the TDOC official then helped rig the bid in favor of Centurion.

The suit claims the official also got a “cushy” job with a Centurion affiliate in Georgia.

An attorney for Centurion did not immediately respond to a telephone message from The Associated Press.

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