LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The state of Michigan is suing Hewlett-Packard Co., accusing the company of failing to complete a multimillion-dollar overhaul of computers at Secretary of State offices.

The state says it gave HP a termination letter on Aug. 28. Three days later, employees stopped reporting to work, although the state says they still were required to provide support.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says she inherited the stalled project when she took office in 2011. At that point, the state had paid nearly $28 million to HP. Johnson says millions more have been spent and things haven’t improved.

“We have no choice but to take HP to court to protect Michigan taxpayers,” Johnson said in a statement.

An email seeking comment from HP was not immediately returned.

HP had started the project in 2005 to replace the mainframe-based computer system used at all 131 offices where cars are registered. The 2010 deadline for HP to deliver the system replacement was not met, forcing the state department to continue to use the legacy system — which was largely built in the late 1960s with now-outdated programming languages, according to officials.

“HP simply failed the state of Michigan,” said Johnson. “Our focus now will be on looking for options that allow us to continue to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible cost to our customers.”

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