Court Rules Against Former IT Administrator Who Was Accused Of Locking The School Out Of Its System


mediawiki_1-25_sign_in_formThere is a bizarre case out of Indianapolis where fired IT employee Triano Williams took  the password for a school account that controlled access for emails and course material for over 2000 students.  Williams accused the American College of Education of firing him for racial reasons and allegedly refused to hand over the password.  The for-profit college accused Williams of effective extortion in offering to hand over the password in exchange for a clear letter of reference and $200,000.

Williams insisted that the administrator’s password was autosaved on his company laptop that was returned to the college but he notably did not affirmatively hand over the password.  However, the school says that Williams changed the password and login after or around the time that he was fired.

The school has been bringing its IT staff to Indianapolis  and many resigned rather than make the move.  That left Williams as the sole systems administrator when he was fired April 1 after refusing to relocate from suburban Chicago.

That left students without access to the system.  When the school contacted Williams’ lawyer to get the password and information,  Calvita J. Frederick wrote school that “In order to amicably settle this dispute, Mr. Williams requires a clean letter of reference and payment of $200,000.” Williams later filed a lawsuit in Chicago claiming racial discrimination.  He said that the school knew that he could not move away from this daughter in Chicago under a joint custody agreement and that the relocation was a racially motivated action.  However, Williams failed to appear at a number of hearings in the Indiana proceedings (which were difficult for Williams to attend).  Eventually a default ruling was issued against him and Williams was ordered to pay the college $248,350 in damages.

The letter from Frederick has raised eyebrows over whether she was conditioning access on the payment of money.  She insisted that the letter was simply a settlement letter and not a quid pro quo attempt.

The system has been now unlocked. What is interesting is that that the school will not collect on the roughly $250,000 judgment even though it accused him of intentionally blocking the school and its students.


The school clearly indicated that it hoped (expected) Williams to drop his discrimination lawsuit. Otherwise, the school could move on collecting the damages.

13 thoughts on “Court Rules Against Former IT Administrator Who Was Accused Of Locking The School Out Of Its System”

  1. Not confusing at all, Jack!

    An employer tried to emasculate an employee – in this case an IT guy – and the employee retaliated in a manner befitting the employer. This scenario is not new.

    Maybe the IT guy got his idea from a movie?
    “Office Space”, 1999, Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, Stephen Root, et. al

    Or, was the movie just “predictive programming” from the NWO/watchamacallit?

  2. This stuff goes on all the time. When Republicans lost to Obama, to hide their shame they ranted and raved at Obama for eight years and held the country hostage in attempts to get their way. There are recorded interviews with Mitch McConnell stating that even if it is good for America, Republicans will oppose it if it comes from the White House. There is no difference here between this guy and the Republican Congress. Extortion is extortion.

    Now we have a real extortion pro in the White House.

  3. “She insisted that the letter was simply a settlement letter and not a quid pro quo attempt.”

    Charge Frederick with ethics violations. My guess is there was no case from the outset and she thought the race angle would be her payday. Make her an d her law firm responsible for paying the $248k.

  4. Why is this in civil litigation. Isn’t it a felony to interfere with users access to applications and data?

  5. The school has an obligation to mitigate damages. I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t find an expert to unlock or hack into the system, instead of negotiating with this guy for six months. Since the election is over, there should be some Russian hackers with time on their hands, lol. Seriously, I don’t believe that this school was completely held hostage. If it were that easy, numerous angry employees or ex-employees would lock their employers out of their computer systems, but this is the first time I’ve heard of this.

    1. TIN – I couldn’t believe the school was run on a Google account. They needed a home-brew. For some reason Google would not let them in to their admin account.

  6. I am not sure why the school would not have a cause of action against him. He kept the computers shut down for 6 months.

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