Responding to public pressure to reduce legal bills, the DeKalb County school board on Monday authorized a new contract with its lawyers in a long-running lawsuit that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, with no end in sight.
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October 2004: Crawford Lewis becomes superintendent of the DeKalb County School District and later hires Pat Reid to oversee Heery International Inc. and E.R. Mitchell & Co., which jointly manage construction projects.
April 2006: Heery/Mitchell suspended, then fired 10 months later.
February 2007: Heery/Mitchell sues for $478,000 and damages.
March 2007: DeKalb counterclaims for $17 million, eventually seeking more than $100 million.
December 2008: Lewis tells school lawyers that Reid tried to blackmail him, recommended firing Heery/Mitchell and wanted to hire her friends to work on projects funded by a special sales tax for school construction.
July 2009: DeKalb’s law firm, King & Spalding, agrees to work on contingency, retroactive to June 1, 2008. It had
been paid $6.5 million.
May 2010: Lewis, Reid, her then-husband, Tony Pope, and Reid’s assistant indicted. (The assistant is later
dismissed from the case.) Lewis had been fired a month earlier.
October 2010: Heery/Mitchell files second amended complaint, claiming criminal fraud drove its termination.
June 2012: School board approves settlement with E.R. Mitchell & Co.
February 2013: Civil trial date with DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger, since postponed.
May 3, 2013: A pair of DeKalb residents, one a Heery executive named as a defendant in DeKalb’s lawsuit, file a legal challenge to the district’s contract with King & Spalding, alleging it puts the district illegally in debt to the lawyers.
June 3, 2013: DeKalb County school board authorizes a new contract with King & Spalding that eliminates millions of dollars in legal costs.