The Daily Report recently reported that DeKalb schools’ legal bill will double in 2013 to an astounding number. Guess. Just take a quick guess. Guess how many of your hard-earned tax dollars will be sent to the coffers of law firms like Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Alexander & Associates and King & Spalding. So, do you have your guess ready? The Daily Report discovered via an Open Records Request that $10.5 million will go to these law firms in FY 2013!
TEN. POINT. FIVE. MILLION. DOLLARS.
“For what?” you ask.
So glad you asked.
This money will be mostly spent on the Heery Mitchell civil lawsuit over SPLOST construction projects, which was filed over six years ago and is scheduled to go to trial in February (please, don’t hold your breath on that). The Daily also says tax dollars will be spent on “unrelated litigation and settlements involving former school system employees…” according to DCSS CFO Michael Perrone.
The article goes on to tell us that “Over the past three years since Sutherland became the school district’s general counsel, the firm has usually collected the most from DeKalb schools, including $2.5 million in 2012. Sutherland spokeswoman Andrea Christman said the firm declined to comment in order to protect client confidentiality.”
Excuse me, but aren’t we (the taxpaying citizens of DeKalb) the ‘client’? We are not allowed to even know where our money goes?
On top of the $18.2 million collected by King & Spalding (and the mounting collectables adding up under the new contingency agreement), we paid nearly $1.2 million in total so far to Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp & Wilson for representing six former board members named in the Heery civil case. And the board just voted 5 to 4 to lift the $100,000 cap on Dr. Lewis’ representation in the civil case.
Cha-ching. Try to explain this wasteful, gluttonous money pit to some of the struggling small school districts around the state whose total operating budgets can’t hold a candle to our legal bills. Heck, try explaining this expense to the classroom teacher who is told there is not enough money for copy paper or other classroom supplies. Or the para who lost their job due to budget cuts.
How incredibly shameful.
To read the entire Daily Report, click here.