Four California state legislators got the bright idea to ask IBM to forgive and forget 5 million dollars of debt. Apparently, back in the late 80s and early 90s The West Contra Costa School District oredered a bunch of computers from Big Blue, and judging by the debt it was one heck of an order.
However it seems that the never-paid-for machines had a nasty habit of dissapearing. Along with the acompanying paperwork. In spite of that the politicians feel free to ask the huge corporation to write off the debt as some sort of charitable donation.
Not that I like giant corporations, but it pretty much looks like they're asking IBM to subsidize their own people who screwed up more than a decade ago. If only the computers were actually used in the schools, which it seems they weren't, I'd go for it, not a problem, and maybe IBM would too.
Hell, why not just say: "Somebody stole those computers we never paid for, we never caught those embezzlers and we don't intend to do it now, 15 years on, but it would be realy nice if you would help us out anyway, your shareholders won't mind..."