(Note: I have rewritten portions of this post about the building leases to reflect information about the lease agreements pointed out to me by readers.)

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – A grim week for storage technology firm NetApp grew worse Thursday with news that the company is buying back a $61 million financing and lease deal for a datacenter at its RTP campus.

We should note that Triangle Business Journal reported on the datacenter buyback last week and that NetApp believes the deals will be of benefit to the company.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that NetApp had agreed to pay a whopping $128 million fine.

A former NetApp employee, acting as a whistleblower, was crucial to the case and will be rewarded, according to the Justice Department statement:

“The settlement resolves the lawsuit filed on behalf of the U.S. government by former NetApp employee, Igor Kapuscinski, who will receive a $19,200,000 share of the recovery in the case. Under the False Claims Act, private citizens can bring suit on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery obtained by the government.”

In the lease matter, CoStar Group, which touts itself as the “commercial real estate information company,” that NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) had terminated the RTP lease. NetApp, which recently announced plans to lay off 6 percent of its workforce, also terminated a $58.3 million finance and lease deal for a building at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Both deals were with BNP Paribas Leasing Corp., according to CoStar Group’s Mark Heschmeyer. The cancellations cost NetApp $119.3 million to settle, CoStar said. Both leases covered “build-to-suit” structures. The RTP building covers 120,000 square feet.

Meanwhile, on tax day, the Justice Department with NetApp in a dispute with the General Services Administration.

The agreement came after an “investigation of alleged false claims and contract fraud.” The Justice Department noted that it is the “largest contract fraud settlement the GSA has obtained to date.”

"This settlement shows that the United States will not tolerate misconduct in the pricing of government contracts," said Michael Hertz, acting assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, in a statement.

Here are the crucial two paragraphs from the Justice Department statement that outlined the NetApp case:

“The settlement relates to contracts entered into by NetApp, a computer storage and data management solutions company, to sell hardware, software and storage management services for computer network environments to government entities through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. The MAS program provides the government and other GSA- authorized purchasers with a streamlined process for procurement of commonly-used commercial goods and services. To be awarded a MAS contract, and thereby gain access to the broad government marketplace and the ease of administration that comes from selling to hundreds of government end users under one central contract, contractors must agree to disclose commercial pricing policies and practices, and to abide by the contract terms when selling to purchasers under the MAS contract.

“The settlement resolves allegations that in contract negotiations and over the course of the contracts’ administration, NetApp knowingly failed to meet its contractual obligations to provide GSA with current, accurate and complete information about its commercial sales practices, including discounts offered to other customers, and that NetApp knowingly made false statements to GSA about their sales practices and discounts. The settlement further resolves allegations that NetApp knowingly failed to comply with the price reduction clauses of their GSA contracts by failing to disclose to GSA discounts NetApp gave to its commercial customers when they were higher than the discounts that NetApp had disclosed to GSA, and by failing to pass those discounts on to government purchasers. Because of these allegedly fraudulent dealings, it is alleged that the United States accepted lower discounts and paid far more than it should have for NetApp products.”