Security firm that employed Orlando gunman goes to court in Hillsborough

Security firm that employed Orlando gunman goes to court in Hillsborough

TAMPA — G4S Youth Services, an arm of the private security company that employed the gunman who killed 49 people earlier this month in Orlando, is taking its former president to court in Hillsborough County.

In a lawsuit filed in circuit court last week, the company accused its ex-president, James C. Hill Jr., and ex-chief operating officer Brian Neupaver, of unfair and deceptive trade practices and breach of fiduciary duty, among other allegations.

Both men abruptly quit their jobs in the middle of a competitive bidding process for a contract to run a Department of Juvenile Justice facility, the suit alleges. They went to work for a competitor in the for-profit world of juvenile justice: Youth Opportunity Investments.

Based in Indiana, Youth Opportunity Investments does not currently manage any residential facilities for juvenile offenders in Florida, according to a DJJ spokeswoman.

But earlier this year, it was one of three companies that bid on a soon-to-expire contract held by G4S Youth Services to run the Columbus Juvenile Residential Facility in east Tampa. The 50-bed facility on Columbus Drive holds youth ages 10 to 18 who have been sent there because a judge determined they needed juvenile sex offender treatment.

G4S also submitted a proposal to continue its work at the facility. The company maintains that while Hill and Neupaver were ostensibly working on this proposal, they were quietly planning their exit. G4S attorney Irwin Gilbert said that when the men’s “no compete” clauses in their contracts expired — and became the subject of renegotiation — both quit.

Hill and Neupaver did not respond to requests for comment, nor did executives at Youth Opportunity Investments.

Who will win the contract for the Columbus facility is still undecided, but G4S argues the damage has already been done.

Hill and Neupaver had inside knowledge of the company’s proposal and plans, the lawsuit states. When Youth Opportunity Investments negotiates with the DJJ, it will do so with “the unlawful benefit of having G4S confidential information.”

The Columbus facility is one of four Department of Juvenile Justice centers clustered together in Tampa. The others include the Tampa Residential Facility, Hillsborough Girls Academy, and Lake Academy, all of which are currently run by G4S Youth Services. According to state records, since 2009, G4S has been paid nearly $10 million to manage the Columbus facility.

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