DeKalb DA Robert James: “It’s the board’s job to police themselves”

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James (front) and DeKalb School Board Chair Eugene Walker discuss the grand jury presentment.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James (front) and DeKalb School Board Chair Eugene Walker discuss the grand jury presentment. (Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com)

According to a news post by the AJC, there will be NO investigation on the horizon by the DeKalb DA, Robert James.

Click here to read the post in its entirety.

However, according to the AJC, District Attorney Robert James said that, in the absence of a full-blown investigation of suspected improprieties, he believes he negotiated satisfactory safeguards that should put taxpayers at ease.

(He’s kidding, right?)

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60 Responses to DeKalb DA Robert James: “It’s the board’s job to police themselves”

  1. The Deal says:

    This is such a complete crock. With whom did he meet and negotiate? Why is there no concern for what happened in the past? Does he realize that there has been zero personnel turnover on the board since this happened and, therefore, is very likely to happen again? Does he realize that the key suspect in the leak is now the board chair?

    Let’s see, we’ve got the county DA, SACS, DeKalb state legislators, the state BOE, and the governor all aware of the incompetence, unprofessionalism, borderline criminal, and unethical actions of the DeKalb Board of Education, and absolutely not one of them has done anything but issue warnings and move on. Where are taxpayers and parents supposed to go other than these entities?

  2. Had Enough says:

    Putting the Fox in charge of the Hen House. Although this comes as no surprise, I think James has let the children of DeKalb County and the taxpayers down. Again, another DeKalb “leader” refusing to lead. Remember, this is the same man that dropped the charges against the employee who robbed the offices of New Birth, at the request of Bishop Eddie Long.

    This is just “The Good ‘Ol Boy Network” Redux. The game is the same, only the skin tones have changed.

  3. Miss Management says:

    “School board Chairman Eugene Walker and Vice Chairman Tom Bowen attended the news conference. They said the school system was instituting policies to guard against such violations in the future.”

    Uh huh. That’s what they all say!

  4. no duh says:

    Last night — in a public forum — Gene Walker, himself, squashed all rumor that he is out to get Dr. Atkinson. At the DeKalb Council of PTAs meeting he stood before the crowd (comprised mostly of principals) and declared his admiration of and full support of Dr. Atkinson. What a relief! With his embrace of her as our trusted Superintendent, I am confident he will stay completely out of her way and let her clean house and funnel money into the classroom where it belongs. His sincerity was palpable. I can’t imagine how relieved Dr. Atkinson must have been to hear it. Full steam ahead Dr. A! You heard what I heard. Walker is your ally and friend!!

    We now know Steen Miles has gone rogue! She is clearly cut off from the power circle of DCSS and is making baseless assumptions and trying to drag poor Gene Walker into the mud pit with her. How sad that this woman, who once stood at the hand of power, is thrashing about in an attempt to prove her association with the powers that be. There is NO WAY a man of Walker’s integrity would publicly praise his employee and then stab her in the back behind closed doors. This man is a pillar of society. This man is a leader. Leaders don’t tear down their employees. Steen should be ashamed of herself for trying to paint Walker as duplicitous and conniving.

    Thank you, thank you Gene for your full support of Dr. A. It will be a pleasure watching you work with her and support her vision and mission.

    Now, about how you plan to police yourself…. hmmmmm.

  5. Miss Management says:

    “We now know Steen Miles has gone rogue! She is clearly cut off from the power circle of DCSS and is making baseless assumptions and trying to drag poor Gene Walker into the mud pit with her. ”

    OR —–> Gene just threw Steen under the bus!

  6. anonmom says:

    Think about the comments about how those in charge of “policing” behavior are not doing so and ask how we “fix” it… Answers: (1) on-line check and pcard registers; (2) split system in half or into quarters or many independent schools; (3) vouchers. I have no other ideas. Consider this: SACS is Judge, Jury and Prosecutor and also is paid for all three “services” to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and the “quality” of the underlying educational services being provided by the system being “policed” isn’t even on the table for SACS’ consideration and review….. All of the funds: taxpayer money from local sources (property taxes and sales taxes); the state (state income taxes) and the feds (income taxes and otherwise, eg. borrowed from China). Now, tell me, on what level does this make sense?

  7. Mildred says:

    What about Columbia High School today? A bullied female student brought a gun to school. She thought it was the only way to protect herself from the FEMALE bullies. The school was NOT put on lock-down and, the pep rally continued as scheduled.

    Atkinson wants to give principals more freedom in their schools. What about this school? Who in their right mind would want to give a principal that let a pep rally continue after finding a gun in student possession on a Friday more power? Less power for that principal or, no power at all.

  8. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Pizza Party at Jay Cuningham’s tonight!

  9. Mildred says:

    Sarah’s bringing the drinks!

  10. The Deal says:

    Walker the Fox is bringing hen!

  11. no duh says:

    Actually Miss Management, my whole comment was completely sarcastic. But, wouldn’t it be nice (and great PR for the system and healing for all) if Gene would throw Steen under the bus with a public statement denouncing her ridiculous opinions.

  12. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    I’m sure Francis Edwards will bring her son and Zepora “I’m gonna slug you” Roberts will bring the punch!

  13. Anonymous says:

    “James said he found “things that one could characterize as troublesome” but not evidence of illegal activity. He said his review was conducted mainly through discussions with school board members, “but in terms of launching a full-fledged investigation about each and every allegation of a school board member interfering in the day-to-day operations of the school system, we did not do that.”

    Isn’t this what SACS is supposed to be monitoring? What is wrong with this organization?

  14. Aghast Again says:

    Lawyer question:
    Is it common for a DA to meet with potential targets of a grand jury – then have those targets stand with him at the press conference announcing the investigation is over? I don’t know what to compare this to. This is just bizarre. And there is no solution for this. There is no where to turn because SACS and the Legislature do not have ethical people in sufficient numbers to move in a way to clean this up. ANYONE who compares this to the old boy’s network of Rennie Hallford is a complete idiot. There is no comparison. He hired lots of people he was related to – who had college degrees and carried teaching certificates. Robert James has just given the BOE the sign off to continue to wedge uneducated family members into ill-defined jobs and steal federal money mean to serve poor children. I really can’t believe this. I can’t believe the AJC is too scared to pursue this. The BOE will run Dr. A out of town if she doesn’t behave to their liking. Nancy cannot effect change by herself and I honestly think she is at personal risk at this point. I am very concerned because these thugs are acting with impunity.

  15. Miss Management says:

    OH. I get it now. I thought MAYBE you were being tongue in cheek but you are more clever than most!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Has the results of the audit been made public? It should be published on the school system website. The audit belongs to the taxpayers who paid for it.

  17. dekalbdoyenne says:

    I’m not an attorney, but even I know that it is highly irregular for District Attorney Robert James to meet with potential targets of a grand jury. In fact, I think it is so highly irregular that it borders on malpractice. Of course, this is the same DA who caved in to Eddie “The King” Long’s demand that charges be dropped against a suspect in a New Birth burglary. It is worth noting that James is a member of Ray of Hope Christian Church, one of 79 churches in Georgia affiliated with and tithing to The Father’s House Network, run by Eddie “The King” Long.

    In the press conference held by James today, he intimated that he had spoken with members (note the plural) of the Board of Education (BOE). I immediately called my BOE member. James had NOT spoken with my BOE member. As I used to say to my children, telling half-truths is just the same as lying. It appears that James got together with Walker and Bowen in a closed-door meeting, potentially violating Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, and they cooked up this little scheme.

    You are correct, Aghast Again. These thugs are acting with impunity and with the assurance that they are untouchable.

  18. howdy1942 says:

    We, the People, have the responsibility to clean out this mess called the Dekalb County School Board. We don’t need the District Attorney, the Governor, SACS, or anyone else. We need a fresh start in our school system. Let’s just do it!!

  19. anon says:

    I was told at one point that Robert James was hand selected to replace Gwen Keyes and Gwen was pretty much removed to EPA… I don’t know if that’s true but it does start to make sense. Robert James was the best qualified of those running for DA but it’s unclear who might have run if there was no “interference”……. That’s what makes it look and smell so much like 1920s and 1930s Chicago and why I’m ready for vouchers.

  20. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    How does one take over a corrupt school system that has everyone in their pocket? How? The AJC, WSB-TV, The I-Team, Tough Questions 46 and the Happy News on Channel 11 are all in the tank with this bunch, since they have to apply for their FCC licenses. If Gene Walker can sexually harass a state employee and get away with it, don’t you think he has told the journalists in this town not to touch this story? Crawford Lewis had an old beat writer at the AJC wrapped around his finger. I hope someone will do some honest reporting.. The DA’s comments really bother me. Isn’t there one honest journalist in this town that is a little miffed regarding the DA’s actions today?

    Governor Deal is the only one to help at this point, since everyone else has failed us. Maybe the State Attorney General? Can the Governor call for an independent investigation into DCSS and the DeKalb DA’s office?

    This is nightmare of epic proportions! We’re paying for this? This is our money they are pouring into their families and friends pockets!

  21. The Deal says:

    Very good move to email your board member. I am going to email mine. We should publish which board members the DA did NOT meet with.

  22. The Deal says:

    Sounds good but, realistically, how?

  23. no duh says:

    When I saw the little grey box story in today’s paper about the pending announcement by the DA and the article stated that Bowen and Walker would be standing with him when he made the announcement, I was astounded! These people are now proudly flaunting their corrupt, unethical behavior.

    AMG, I agree it’s a “nightmare of epic proportions.” Or perhaps we’re trapped in the Twilight Zone. I feel we are dealing with some very dangerous people. Lately I’ve had Derwin Brown on my mind.

  24. lori cobbs says:

    so who does the DA answer to / who could hold him accountable?

  25. anon says:

    I think it’s got to get the attention of Stocil or another similarly situated national media reporter “outside the spere of influence” (Dateline? 60 Minutes?) — some real journalist who will really investigate. The Governor has “skeltons” such that he won’t touch it…. The Bishop (I think) has “planted” too many people at too many levels such that the Derwin Brown reminder probably isn’t too far off — think about it, how many people could have done what we’ve heard has been done here without prosecution? There’s been a lot of “smoke” on alot of different fronts — remember the story about gaming machines and investment scheme from while ago at NB? Couple that with the civil suits and the financial issues in DCSS and the tax investigation in Congress…. If there’s some solid evidence of federal fund fraud along the Title One lines – it’s someone possible that the USAtty will get involved, but her boss is in the White House so we may need an R for something to happen there…. Isn’t this fun?

  26. Who, indeed? Besides the voters, that is. Clearly that’s not going to happen and Robert James knows it — as does Gene Walker. Could someone knowledgeable weigh in on this?

  27. dekalbdoyenne says:

    File this under Outrageous Statistics Define Priorities:

    The AJC has 14 — count ‘em, 14! — sports blogs, but only one (1) blog concerning education.

    Yesterday, the AJC gave brief lip service to DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James’ stunning admission that he would not empanel a special grand jury to investigate the DeKalb County School System Board of Education because he investigated the BOE himself and he (James) “negotiated safeguards that should put taxpayers at ease.”

    Gene Walker, standing with Robert James and looking like the cat that swallowed the canary said, “We did not identify any overt influence in personnel matters. We’re saying this one is over and in the next instance we’ll try to exercise more due diligence.”

    Even a rookie reporter from the worst journalism school in the country would know to go after that one.

    Today, the story has all but disappeared from the AJC (it can still be found with a search), there are no AJC editorial opinions expressing outrage and promising a clear-eyed follow-up, and Maureen Downey is off on another tangent with a fluff blog posting entitled, “While we are closing the racial gap in achievement, the income gap is widening.”

    Really, Maureen? Really?

    Take a look at the achievement gap in the DeKalb County School System. Is that closing? Or has it been getting successively worse with every year that passes?

    Why are you, Maureen, and the AJC and other “news” media in Atlanta giving Robert James, Gene Walker, Tom Bowen and others of their ilk a “pass”?

    I — and probably many others on this blog — would like to know what you and the rest of the Atlanta media have been promised to “green light” Gene Walker and his minions like Robert James. I hope you have negotiated big money in return because clearly you have sold your soul to the Devil.

  28. dmbforman@yahoo.com says:

    Vouchers will only work if schools can be independent and not have to worry about things like school boards. Unless schools can be individually run and make their own decisions than nothing will improve.

  29. dmbforman@yahoo.com says:

    A great idea to get national media involved. We need to compile the data in one place and send it around. The government is not the answer. Too many from DeKalb are in high places, and too many from Chicago already working for the government who know how to do this better than those from DeKalb.

  30. bettyandveronica says:

    Whew! What a relief to know the folks in charge of our kids educational future are above board and beyond reproach. (Sarcasm, in case you didn’t get that.)
    I am so glad we have Robert James to discern whether or not the Grand Jury is smart enough to determine that there is a problem. (Sarcasm again) I guess all of this was fixed?

    Here’s a link to the original story from Channel 2:

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/education/dekalb-county-school-board-could-face-grand-jury-i/nGB4L/

  31. bettyandveronica says:

    Does anyone know how to change the Gravatar? That’s the little icon beside my name. While I don’t mind giving DCSS the finger now and again, this is too much!

  32. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    You create your own Gravatar at your own email server. For example, if you use a Yahoo email address, go to Yahoo and choose a picture to associate with your email address as your Gravatar. Go to your profile, click the generic icon (it may say “more” or something) and upload your own photo. Works similarly in Gmail and others.

  33. no duh says:

    bettyandveronica, lol!! Now I can’t look at these things without cracking up!!

  34. dekalbdoyenne says:

    Has anyone checked with the U. S. Department of Justice for a definitive answer on whether or not it is illegal to sunset Gene Walker’s at-large district to meet the Georgia General Assembly’s directive to reduce the school board to not more than 7 members?

    If Walker’s district (which, by definition as an at-large district, is made up of voters who already have other duly elected representation) is eliminated to meet the Georgia General Assembly’s directive, then wouldn’t Walker just be out of a job (and his “walking-around money”)? It is simply “the luck of the draw” and Walker’s bad fortune to live in the same district with a current BOE member who was duly elected by voters in that district.

    Wouldn’t it clearly be illegal to create a district just for Walker, thereby disenfranchising all people in that newly created district who did NOT vote for him because he was in a different district at the time of the election?

    This cannot be the first time this has ever come up for the U. S. Department of Justice. Walker can run against Cunningham (or he can establish residence in another district and run against that person) when districts come up for re-election.

  35. Anonymous says:

    StAte law regulates this not federal. We needed a referendum and the delegation choose not to let us have one.

  36. Disgusted...again says:

    This is just heartbreaking. How can they continue to be so blatant? I hope that if I’m ever accused of a crime, someone “speaks with me” to determine whether or not to send me to trial! Then I hope they admit to the whole world that the sum total of their investigation was to “speak with me”, so that everyone can be made publicly aware that I’m untouchable. Un Be Lieve Able! There HAS to be accountability somewhere… every time I start to think there is some hope for reform, another astonishing act of blatant corruption is revealed. It is starting to feel hopeless.

  37. Which Georgia law? Please be specific. Or are you just guessing?

    I believe this falls under the purview of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, per the U. S. Department of Justice:

    “The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is considered to be the most effective civil rights statute enacted by Congress. Pursuant to the Act, the Voting Section undertakes investigations and litigation throughout the United States and its territories, conducts administrative review of changes in voting practices and procedures in certain jurisdictions, and monitors elections in various parts of the country.

    “Section 2 of the Act, is a nationwide prohibition against voting practices and procedures, including redistricting plans and at-large election systems, poll worker hiring, and voter registration procedures, that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group. It prohibits not only election-related practices and procedures that are intended to be racially discriminatory, but also those that are shown to have a racially discriminatory impact. The Attorney General, as well as affected private citizens, may bring lawsuits under Section 2 to obtain court-ordered remedies for violations of Section 2.

  38. “How can they continue to be so blatant?”

    Because DeKalb County government and the DeKalb County School System are rotting from the head down.

    The frightening thing is that these criminals are becoming bolder and bolder. The Robert James press conference was just one example of many.

  39. Just Watch says:

    It is very confusing, but two different issues are being mixed here. One is removing a duly elected official and the other is reapportionment. Once the map is finalized, any citizen can file a complaint with the Justice Department, who will be approving or disproving the map anyway. If the Justice Department kicks the map out, most likely a judge or judicial panel will draw the districts.

    Mary Margaret Oliver has assured us over and over again that it is Unconstitutional to remove anyone from a dully elected office without cause. If you read the GA Constitution, it is pretty clear that we don’t have the cause. The question to ask Mary Margaret and Fran Millar is why they won’t take the time to amend SB 79 to include a sunset provision for Walker’s seat.

    However, we could organize a recall. Gene Walker would be the hardest (Remember Speaks is finished at the end of this year) because it is based on a percentage of voters and because he was at large, the vote total would be greatest.

    I am all for this and would be supportive, but I don’t live in Walker’s district. I think it would be a great thing to do and would send a clear signal.

    The relevant legislation requires at least one of the following grounds for calling a recall election:

    Here are the legal reasons for a recall:

    * an act of malfeasance or misconduct while in office,
    * violation of the oath of office,
    * failure to perform duties prescribed by law, or
    * willfully misusing, converting, or misappropriating, without authority, public property or public funds entrusted to or associated with the elective office to which the official has been elected or appointed.

    Here is the whole article on recalling an elected official in GA.

    http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Laws_governing_recall_in_Georgia

  40. Just Watch says:

    Also, a Referedum would have been ideal. It would have allowed the voters to decide how many board seats (5 or 7) and it would have required a totally new election for each seat. But Howard Mosby blocked it and it never went anywhere.

    Shame.

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