According to a recent article in the local, very expensive, exclusive legal newspaper, the Daily Report, “A new indictment of former DeKalb County School District Superintendent Crawford Lewis says he worked with the school district’s attorneys to conceal criminal acts involving school construction projects.”
The sub-title of the article, “New indictment alleges DeKalb school chief ‘colluded’ with school attorneys”, gives insight as to the extent of the newly released Second Grand Jury Presentment’s evidence against Lewis (available in our FILES under the FACTS & SOURCES tab) as well as the possibly questionable behavior of his attorneys.
The article continues in part,
“In his role as executive officer of the Board of Education, Lewis “manipulated and colluded with general and outside counsel” to minimize the details of crimes he had blamed on the school system’s operations officer, Pat Pope, according to the May 1 indictment.
“The indictment describes two meetings Lewis had with school district lawyers in which they discussed his concerns that Pope, now known as Pat Reid, was trying to blackmail him. But while one lawyer agreed with Lewis that they should “go for blood” if Pope turned on Lewis, they were also balancing how to keep Pope as an allied witness in high-stakes civil litigation against a former school contractor, Heery International.
“Both meetings with Lewis included the school district’s construction counsel, Greg Morgan and Al Phillips; the district’s general counsel Josie Alexander; and John Hinchey, now a retired partner at King & Spalding who was hired to represent the school district in its civil fight with Heery International, according to the indictment.”
The article includes some history and an update to the facts:
“In May 2010, a DeKalb County grand jury first indicted Lewis, Pat Pope and her architect ex-husband Tony Pope for corruption and conspiracy related to the school district’s construction contracts for four projects.
“The new 132-page, six-count indictment adds racketeering and bribery charges. It also dismisses charges against Pat Pope’s former secretary, Cointa Moody, who was originally charged in the 2010 indictment.
“In the new indictment, prosecutors accuse Pat Pope and Tony Pope of bid-rigging, falsifying documents, authorizing illegal payments and misrepresenting material facts to the school board. Lewis is accused of signing off on illegal actions, soliciting and accepting bribes, and using school district funds to pay for hotel rooms where he met with his mistress.
“Crawford Lewis and his Chief Operations Officer, Patricia Reid, aka Pat Pope manipulated and inappropriately funneled contracts to Mrs. Pope’s husband and to contractors for whom they received illegal benefits,” states the new indictment. “In so doing, Pat Pope and Tony Pope went from near bankruptcy to substantial wealth in just a few years. This illegal conduct allowed Crawford Lewis to maintain a lifestyle beyond what he could afford.
“The prosecution also alleges that Pat Pope and Lewis hindered the investigation.”
To read the article in its entirety, ask a lawyer you know to borrow a printed copy of the May 11, 2012 edition of the Daily Report.