Thanks for your reply.
The shop claims that they found the problem. It turns out that a third party alarm system was installed by a previous owner. Evidently a wire came loose on the alarm which resulted in my inability to start the car. They tried several things to reset the alarm but were unsuccessful. Unfortunately I could not help since there were no instructions on how to operate the alarm when I bought the car. Disconnecting the alarm allows the car to start so I guess the fix is to remove the alarm system and to restore the car back to "factory condition". Total cost is $280 and the repair will be completed by tomorrow.
I hope this reply helps someone else that may be in a similar situation.