Fired IT Guy Demands $200K to Unlock Data

Online college couldn't access account
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2017 1:22 AM CST
Updated Jan 18, 2017 4:15 AM CST
Fired IT Guy Demands $200K to Unlock Data
Williams told the college the password was on a laptop he returned to the school.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

An IT worker fired for refusing to relocate demanded $200,000 to unlock a Google account with the emails and coursework of 2,000 students, an online college claims. The American College of Education alleges in a lawsuit that Triano Williams changed the password on the account and demanded the money after Google told the college that he was the sole administrator and was the only one who would be given access, the Indianapolis Star reports. Williams, who was fired on April 1 last year, denied changing the password and filed a lawsuit of his own, alleging that the Indianapolis-based college had discriminated against him and other black employees.

Williams said he had been hired to work remotely and couldn't relocate to Indiana from his home in suburban Chicago because he has joint custody of his young daughter. "In order to amicably settle this dispute, Mr. Williams requires a clean letter of reference and payment of $200,000," his lawyer wrote to the college's attorney. Williams' lawyer tells the Star that her client isn't pulling a "stick-'em-up" for the data but wants to settle the discrimination suit. Things have not gone Williams' way: In September, a judge ordered him to pay the college $248,350 in damages, and after it was contacted by a Star reporter about the case last week, Google agreed to unlock the disputed account and return control to the school. (More information technology stories.)

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