Whistleblower says East Lansing company stored poll worker data on Chinese server

A former employee has filed a lawsuit against East Lansing-based Konnech and founder Eugene Yu, saying the company illegally stored poll worker data on computer servers located on the Chinese mainland.

Grant Bradley was Konnech’s former implementation manager before he was fired for cooperating with the Los Angeles prosecutor’s investigation of Konnech and Yu. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office charged Konnech and Yu with stealing poll worker information and illegally storing it in China last October.

According to his whistleblower complaint, Bradley alleges he was wrongfully terminated from Konnech for cooperating with prosecutors in a case they were building against the company and Yu.

“During his employment, Plaintiff was told by his superiors to say outwardly to customers that poll worker data was not stored overseas, not available to foreign nationals, and that they had no idea why Defendant Yu was arrested,” reads Bradley’s complaint. “Defendant Yu told Plaintiff not to ‘worry about’ the Chinese nationals working on Defendant Konnech’s software and coding and also claimed companies like Microsoft and Apple had Chinese programmers working on their software behind the scenes.”

The complaint continues, “In approximately September 2022, following accusations by True the Vote, Plaintiff began investigating the extent of the information provided by the Defendant Konnech to the programmers based out of Wuhan, China. Plaintiff confirmed Defendants Yu and Konnech had been providing to these Chinese programmers private data of poll workers, to include Social Security numbers and other personal identifying information.”

The complaint was first reported by The Federalist. As of publication, Aaron L. Davis, Bradley's Fraser Treblicock Davis & Dunlop attorney, and Yu's attorney Gary Lincenberg have not responded to The Center Square's request for an interview.

In the week subsequent to Yu’s arrest, Bradley claims he was told not to cooperate with investigators and that he could no longer interact personally with Konnech clients after telling his superiors he would not lie on behalf of Konnech or Yu. Bradley was then locked out from his personal payroll data, before receiving an email that his position had been terminated.

As reported last October by The Center Square, Ingham County and East Lansing law-enforcement agencies assisted the Los Angeles district attorney’s Bureau of Investigation in arresting Yu and seizing hard drives and digital evidence. Yu was extradited to L.A. and charged with grand theft by embezzlement.

He was eventually released and charges against him dismissed without prejudice to enable the assembly of a cyber-forensic team to analyze digital evidence related to Konnech’s PollChief software, which has 32 clients, including several municipalities as well as branches of the U.S. military. The software is used to manage election-worker payroll, assignments, and communications.

As noted previously by The Center Square, Konnech received $306,000 of Michigan taxpayer dollars from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in 2022.

Also reported previously by The Center Square was the involvement of Houston-based True the Vote, a group led by Catherine Englebrecht and Gregg Phillips. The TTV principals were arrested and jailed Oct. 31 on contempt of court charges because they refused to name the source of the information the organization provided to the Los Angeles prosecutor. The duo was released on Nov. 7.

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