A DeKalb County grand jury today indicted former school Superintendent Crawford Lewis and Pat Reid, the district’s former chief operating officer, as well as her ex-husband, architect Tony Pope, and her secretary. The indictment alleges $80 million in fraudulently awarded construction contracts, tens of thousands of dollars in sports and theater tickets as bribes, and a taxpayer-funded stay in the Bahamas. The grand jury also charged, without elaboration, that Reid tried to blackmail Lewis.
DeKalb school officials want to pay Parsons Corp. and another firm $14.6 million to manage construction through 2012. The school board Monday may pony up the 2010 installment — $6.1 million. Parsons took control of the program in October when chief operating officer Pat Pope was reassigned as an investigation of construction contracts heated up. But the outsourcing would have cost the same regardless of Pope’s status, a school spokesman said today: “Their dollar figure would not have changed.”
An inquiry into DeKalb County schools’ construction contracts continues, with no hint as to how much longer it will take. District Attorney Gwen Keyes-Fleming has said virtually nothing about the case since Superintendent Crawford Lewis sent her results of an internal review in February. “The case is complex and enormous in scope which is resulting in an extended investigation. We will share our findings when we complete the investigation,” Keyes-Fleming said Friday in a e-mailed statement.
Maj. Pearlene Williams, chief of staff for Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington, is under investigation in DeKalb County, where her son has been serving time for a 2007 pawn shop killing. Court records show the DeKalb district attorney opened a file Wednesday on an allegation that Williams violated her oath of office, a felony, after the DeKalb sheriff forwarded an investigative report. Neither office would discuss the case. But, a spokesman cautioned, “She hasn’t been charged. She hasn’t been indicted.”
Fired DeKalb police chief Terrell Bolton’s explanation for keeping two seized luxury cars at home in his garage is “absurd,” the county’s district attorney says. Police handling of the two cars might also have violated state law, DA Gwen Keyes Fleming wrote in a March 24 letter. But she said it would not warrant criminal prosecution.
DeKalb School Superintendent Crawford Lewis today promised a thorough and transparent investigation to see how the system handled bullying complaints that led to the suicide of a Dunaire Elementary student. Although the system’s investigation is continuing, Lewis said the mother of Jaheem Herrera, 11, clearly had visited Dunaire to complain about bullies harassing her son. […]