A courtroom stalemate that has dragged on for six years, costing the DeKalb County School District $18 million and incalculable damage to public confidence, has finally given way to settlement talks.
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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 and Mitchell suspended, then fired 10 months later.
February 2007: Heery/Mitchell sue 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 file second amended complaint, claiming criminal fraud drove their 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.
April 2, 2013: DeKalb “special master” Judge Stanley Birch signs an order dismissing the bulk of Heery’s financial claims against the school district.
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 school board votes to authorize signing an amended contract in which King & Spalding agrees to waive $30 million in legal fees and to pay ongoing court costs.
June 7, 2013: Heery offers to settle lawsuit and “donate” $1 million to the school district.
June 10, 2013: DeKalb school board approves amended contract with King & Spalding.
June 11, 2013: DeKalb rejects Heery’s settlement proposal.