Against advice of board attorney and feds, David Archie reveals how much Hinds County paid hackers after cyberattack

Archie says he wanted to educate taxpayers about how their money was spent; Board President Vern Gavin disputes $300k figure
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 7:32 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Hinds County Supervisor David Archie revealed how much officials paid hackers after a cyberattack crippled county services for weeks, against the advice of the board’s attorney and federal investigators, with Archie arguing taxpayers have a right to know what’s going on with their tax dollars.

The information came out during Monday’s public meeting of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors.

Four supervisors voted to approve more than $400,000 to a company to help repair the damage done to Hinds County’s computer systems.

Archie left the room during the vote.

He said the company will be paid more than a million in all for the work but says he’s never seen a contract from them or what that money will specifically address.

Archie also cited an amount the county paid those Hinds County hackers — $250,000 to $300,000 — causing board attorney Tony Gaylor to slam his hand down on his seat in frustration.

“They can ask us to not have this conversation. But there’s no statute, and there’s no laws to prevent us from having this conversation,” Archie said. “And I wanted to educate the citizens of Hinds County in terms of what is going on with their tax dollars. That’s my main concern.”

Board President Vern Gavin said Archie’s numbers were wrong and said disclosing any amount can put the county at risk of a future attack.

“When you do that, you are pretty much laying the foundation for other attackers to come, or you also jeopardize your ability to negotiate in a settlement,” Gavin said.

Archie also questioned a decision in that same meeting to rescind $6 million from what would have been Jackson water repairs back to the county, claiming the money would be spent on deals that would benefit the three supervisors who approved it: Gavin, Credell Calhoun, and Bobcat McGowan.

He did not offer any proof of that, however.

McGowan told the board Monday that the six million would be used as follows: $2 million for cyberattack prevention efforts, $1.5 million toward renovations for the Jackson planetarium, $1.5 million to purchase new public works equipment and $1 million to repave roads in McGowan’s district.

Archie said one of those requests was illegal.

“When Supervisor McGowan made the first motion, he made the motion to buy equipment. State laws tell you that no supervisor can vote to buy any new equipment in the last six months of their term, then they changed it to buying computers,” Archie said. “We don’t know where their money is going. Nobody knows where their money is going.”

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