ARIZONA NEWS

Cyber Ninjas chief says he wants new firm with same employees

Jan 7, 2022, 3:38 PM | Updated: 3:40 pm
FILE - In this April 22, 2021, file photo, Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan, a Florida-based consultan...

FILE - In this April 22, 2021, file photo, Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan, a Florida-based consultancy, talks about overseeing a 2020 election ballot audit ordered by the Republican lead Arizona Senate at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, during a news conference in Phoenix. Cyber Ninjas, the inexperienced contractor hired to run a partisan review of the 2020 election on behalf of Republicans in the Arizona Senate, is scheduled to present its findings to top GOP lawmakers on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. Election experts say the review, funded almost entirely by supporters of former President Donald Trump who have promoted false claims of fraud, was beset by problems and incompetence. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — The Donald Trump supporter hired to run a review of the 2020 election in Arizona told the state Senate president he’s starting a new company with some of the same employees as Cyber Ninjas, the old firm he’s closing as it faces massive court fines for refusing to release public records.

Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan told Republican Senate President Karen Fann in text messages that he was unable to sell the firm because of “too much negativity around the name,” but he plans to sell off all its assets to pay debts and eventually file for bankruptcy. His lawyer says Logan can’t fulfill a court order to release public records because the company has no money, even though Trump allies raised millions of dollars for the unprecedented partisan election review.

Logan did not say whether his new firm would do essentially the same work as Cyber Ninjas, but he said his efforts have been running into obstacles. He told The Associated Press he’s not trying to circumvent the court fines and public records orders, but he needs to work.

“If Cyber Ninjas goes out-of-business I either need to get a job with someone else (which was considered), or start from scratch with a new company,” Logan wrote in an email to the AP. “The latter is the route I chose to go.”

The text messages also suggest a growing rift between Fann and Logan, a cybersecurity consultant with virtually no experience in elections or auditing until Fann hired him last spring to conduct what she called a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and 60% of Arizona’s voters.

Logan’s team oversaw a hand recount of ballots that confirmed President Joe Biden’s narrow victory in Maricopa County, examined vote-counting machines and analyzed a trove of election data. His report claimed to find a number of irregularities, which Trump and his allies have repeatedly trumpeted to support their false claim the election was stolen, but election experts said the claims were inaccurate, misleading or based on a flawed understanding of the data.

Logan and Fann have been at odds over $100,000 of the $150,000 the Senate agreed to pay Cyber Ninjas, which has been withheld.

The text messages were sent from Logan to Fann on Monday and released to The Associated Press on Friday in response to a public records request. Chris Kleminich, the Senate’s public records attorney, said Fann did not respond to Logan.

“I’m not niave enough to think for a second that the Senate has my back,” Logan wrote in the messages. “The actions chosen through all of this speak quite a bit louder than the words; and make it clear the Senate has no intention of honoring what was committed to. The choice has been made to try what can legally be gotten away with rather than what is ethical or right.”

Logan told the AP his dispute with Fann stems from the outstanding $100,000 payment and the Senate’s refusal to pay his legal fees in the public records dispute, which he believes is required under their contract.

“I have no intention of throwing you or anyone else under the bus, but I expect the time has also come for me to stop completely covering for decisions I didn’t make,” he continued to Fann.

Cyber Ninjas has been fighting two public records lawsuits filed by The Arizona Republic newspaper and the watchdog group American Oversight, arguing it is not subject to the public records law because it is a private company. Judges in both cases and the state Court of Appeals have disagreed.

Judge John Hannah of the Maricopa County Superior Court said Thursday he will fine Cyber Ninjas $50,000 a day starting Friday if it doesn’t release public records. He warned that he’ll extend the fines to “individuals who are responsible for compliance with this order,” and not just the company, if necessary.

“The court is not going to accept the assertion that Cyber Ninjas is an empty shell and that no one is responsible for seeing that it complies,” Hannah said.

Logan told the AP he plans to comply with the court order, but he wants more clarity from the judge and money from the Senate to cover costs, which he said the court is underestimating.

“When the rulings of the court are no longer ambiguous, and are within our capabilities to execute; it will happen,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Arizona judge rules state’s lawsuit against Google can move forward

A judge has ruled that most of Arizona’s lawsuit accusing Google of deceptive practices can go to trial.
21 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Peoria police looking for suspect in early morning fatal shooting

Peoria police are looking for the suspect in a fatal shooting that occurred early Tuesday morning, authorities said.
21 hours ago
Michael Duran (City of Phoenix Photo)...
KTAR.com

Michael Duran to replace retiring Kara Kalkbrenner as chief of Phoenix Fire Department

The city of Phoenix on Tuesday announced Michael Duran will serve as the new fire chief of the Phoenix Fire Department, replacing the retiring Kara Kalkbrenner.
21 hours ago
gary sherrod...
Kevin Stone

Suspect shot by Phoenix police near Arizona Capitol jailed after hospital release

An armed robbery suspect shot by Phoenix police near the Arizona Capitol earlier this month was arrested Tuesday after getting released from the hospital, authorities said.
21 hours ago
(AP File Photo/Mary Altaffer)...
Associated Press

Arizona loosens substitute teacher rules to help alleviate staffing shortage

The Arizona Board of Education loosened substitute teacher rules Monday to help alleviate a pandemic-aggravated staffing shortage.
21 hours ago
(Arizona State University Photo; UArizona Photo)...
Danny Shapiro

ASU, UArizona ranked in top 10 in multiple online bachelor’s programs

Arizona’s two largest public universities are ranked in the top 10 for 2022 by U.S. News and World Report for multiple online bachelor’s programs.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

HVAC upkeep in Arizona saves money, keeps families prepared in the long run

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Wide receivers John Brown #12 and Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona C...
Arizona Department of Gaming

The most memorable games in Arizona sports history every fan needs to know

Sports teams in Arizona have seen their fair share of instant classic games, but there's a few that every fan needs to know.
...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
Cyber Ninjas chief says he wants new firm with same employees