Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Please read today’s (Sunday, August 19, 2012)  Atlanta Journal-Constitution — the print version, not the online one.  Ty Tagami has an excellent, well-researched article on the DeKalb/Heery lawsuit and the Lewis-Pope criminal trial.  It’s worth a trip to the store if you don’t already subscribe to the AJC.  Plus — you’ll get up to $140 worth of coupons in today’s AJC!

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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12 Responses to Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

  1. murphey says:

    Ty Tagami of the AJC is the best thing that has happened to DCSD. He’s thorough, accurate, and able to convey complex info in a very understandable way.

  2. I just ran to the store to get a copy. VERY informative. Thanks for bringing this to light!

  3. I personally have to eat a tiny bit of crow here. I am impressed with Marshall Orson’s quotes in this article and I hope and pray that this is a sign that he really will look out for the entire system and not just bring home the bacon for Fernbank. He seemed to really understand the losses the school system – and the children – have suffered due to these lawsuits. It’s a travesty and I saw signs that Marshall got that. I hope he’s able to stay focused until the full pressure of the rest of the board and King and Spalding.

  4. howdy1942 says:

    This is an excellent article. It points to extremely poor decision-making, inept management, and plain failure. I have long said that Lewis/Crawford will never be convicted in Dekalb County and may not even get to trial. How long has this thing been dragging out? Over two years, at least.

    The Heery Construction issue should have been settled and never have gone to court in the first place. The facts and issues in this case should have been discussed and settled by the parties involved. As this article points out, Heery will defend it reputation and I would venture to say that it has much deeper pockets than Dekalb County. It still should be settled. However, I don’t think that the present School Board has knowledge or ability to deal with this matter and it continues to shirk its responsibility by leaving this matter to lawyers. King and Spalding lawyers are very expensive and continuing to pursue this issue in Court along with its associated expense deprives our schools of needed resources and pours taxpayer funds down a deep, dark hole.

    I am very hopeful that we can replace incumbents as soon as we can. We have got to get some people in office with minds big enough and talent sufficient to address these issues and restore our school system. When it is clear that we are heading in that direction, Dekalb County can once again attract people to live here.

  5. teacher/taxpayer says:

    Unfortunately, I have not seen the article.
    However, I would point out that after tomorrow, we need to avoid saying we need to oust incumbents. As the new members begin their terms, we need to watch what they do and determine if they have their priorities straight. We also need to watch the remaining old guard to see if they see the light. Last, let’s give credit to mid-term people like Nancy Jester who seems to be a breath of fresh air. Let’s watch everyoine to see who is making attempts to change the course of the Board, and credit them when the time comes to vote again.

  6. If you still have the Sunday AJC — or if you have a friend or neighbor who still has the Sunday AJC from yesterday — you really should read the article that Ty Tagami wrote. He is a very good writer and an excellent reporter — the way reporters used to be. Look in Section B Metro. The article title — DeKalb Schools: Millions, more at stake — is, as real journalists say, “above the fold” which indicates its importance.

    Time moves on, relentlessly, and DeKalb’s shortchanged, poorly educated children get no do-overs.

  7. Disgusted in Dekalb says:

    If you’re like me and you didn’t manage to purchase a copy of the paper yesterday, you can go online to the Dekalb library reference data base and find the full text of the article (go to the ProQuest data base and find the ajc; then look for yesterday’s edition).

  8. bu2 says:

    The article says King & Spalding are now on contingency. So the $19 million is already spent and there is apparently no continuing legal expense to the schools, only K&S. This likely gets settled the day before the trial starts.

  9. King & Spalding have been on contingency for quite a while now. However, the agreement states that if the outcome is not to their liking, they can go back and bill for their time, so it’s just basically now a big bill on hold. This is from the “Daily Report”, a legal paper in metro Atlanta. For more, it was quoted on the original DSW blog here: http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/03/and-winner-is.html

    The fee contract, inked in June 2008, allows King & Spalding to collect both its standard hourly rates and a contingency share of whatever damages the school district may collect-should it win its $100 million counterclaim.

    If the case settles in a way the firm does not like, it can convert its contingency payment to hourly fees.

    Here are several more links to old posts on the subject in case anyone wants to read up:


  10. justwatch says:

    DCSS is in a very precarious position with K and S. It would be interesting to know if the Board just wanted to drop the lawsuit, how much K and S would say we owe in addition to the 19 million.

  11. In our FILES tab at the top of our website, there’s a page called “Info on the Indictments”. There, you will find the superseding indictment charging that Dr Lewis tried to manipulate evidence and stated that Pat Pope fired Heery in order to ‘hire her friends’. This is what is driving the new story on the trial and this is what Heery is counting on to prove their case. It was revealed in the article from the “Daily Reporter” last May in the file titled “daily-report-charges-note-lawyers-roles.pdf” which can be downloaded on that Info page mentioned above.

    In part:

    “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.

    “[W]ith full knowledge of their criminal activities, Crawford Lewis facilitated the ongoing criminal activities of Pat Pope and Tony Pope with DCSD [DeKalb County School District] resources by attempting to use DCSD inside and outside counsel to shield Pat Pope’s illegal actions,” the indictment states.

    Regarding the allegation that Lewis knew of and facilitated criminal activities, the indictment cites two meetings that Lewis had with school attorneys in December 2008 and January 2009. The indictment says that during these meetings, Lewis discussed improprieties in construction contracts under Pat Pope, her efforts to blackmail him and her role as a witness for the school district in litigation against a joint venture of Heery and E.R. Mitchell & Co., known as Heery/Mitchell. The companies sued the school district for a $1.5 million breach of contract after being terminated by the district, and the school district filed a $100 million countersuit charging the companies with racketeering.

    The indictment cites notes taken by Lewis’ chief of staff during a Dec. 22, 2008, meeting in Lewis’ office in which Lewis said Pope stopped working with Heery because “‘she wanted to hire her friends.'” This statement matches claims by Heery/Mitchell in its litigation against the school district. The indictment also cites the chief of staff’s notes from a Jan. 14, 2009, meeting between Lewis and school district attorneys at the law office of Phillips & Morgan: “Lewis states ‘I don’t trust Pat. If Pat goes for blood, we will go for blood.’ Josie Alexander: ‘if she goes for blood, we will go for blood (expose any person involved—Tony, Moody, etc).'”

    Download the file to read the rest.

  12. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Bad news for Morris Brown College:

    The latest news about Morris Brown College filing foreclosure can only help Heery Mitchell prove their case. The leader of DeKalb’s SPLOST program while HM was under contract was Stan Pritchett – now President of Morris Brown. The SPLOST II Forensic Audit ( dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/splost-letter-and-audit.pdf ) at the time noted that Pritchett, a former principal, was a poor manager and largely responsible for the program’s bad management. Lewis soon let Pritchett go (or encouraged him to retire possibly?) and presented Pat Pope as having been ‘discovered’ after a ‘national search’ by a search firm. He said he had to hire her as an ’emergency’. The board approved the hire, but was unaware that Pope had already been working for DCSS as a consultant under contract. She also was serving as Vice President for her husband’s architectural firm in Stone Mountain. The firm was engaged in several million dollars of DCSS work. Now we hear from the AJC article that Lewis said Pope was blackmailing him and wanted to get rid of Heery and hire her friends.

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