I'm going to share bits of testimony from the Heery depositions that we received at the blog in hard copy form. I am posting this because I am tired of people calling us "intolerant" for calling out Lewis, Pope and the Board of Education's poor behavior. This is serious. This school system is in deep doo doo and it's certainly not the fault of the angry teachers, parents and taxpayers who vent at this blog. This testimony is childish and ridiculous. There are no crimes here, just manipulation and game-playing.
At a meeting of the DCBOE on June 13, 2005, Dr. Crawford Lewis requested that the Board authorize the employment of Lanta Technology Group to conduct an assessment of DCSD's (DeKalb Co School District's) Human Resources Department. The stated purpose was to identify and prioritize the areas that needed to be reorganized, retrained, reamped and redirected. Surprisingly, his undertaking occurred out of view of the public bid process. Instead, Dr. Lewis informed the Board that it was "urgent" to proceed with this assessment as quickly as possible. Dr. Lewis expressed that he had a long relationship with Lanta and had a great deal of confidence in them. (Motion was adopted 6-2) Shortly after, Dr. Lewis engaged the services of Lanta as "head hunters".
In his deposition Lewis states:
Q Are you familiar with Lanta?
A I am
Q How are you familiar with them?
A We asked Lanta to come in and do an assessment of our HR Dept
Q Have they placed any employees with the school district?
A They have
Q Do you recall which employees?
A Yes, Pat Pope, I want to say Gloria Talley and Darren Ware
Q Was Mr Ware placed in the human resources dept?
A Yes he was
Q How long was he here?
A A short period of time, maybe a couple of months or so
Q Ok and why did he leave?
A We learned that Mr Ware - had not been truthful about his employment and education
Q Ok so honesty is important to the DeKalb County School System?
A I think honesty is important
Pay attention to Dr Lewis' use of the word "urgent" to get board approvals. This occurs over and over. I"m betting it will come up regarding these budget cuts.
For those unfamiliar with Darren Ware, click here for the link to the news item.
In her deposition, Ms Pope was asked about her employment history. She testified that after completion of college, her first employment was with a company she called "Eichley". ... then for a couple of years, she worked for Epstein Construction in Chicago. Next, she worked for a smaller company, but she forgot the name of it. Then a company identified as "Ruscilli" where she was a project manager for commercial construction. Next, Lathrop Company, a division of Turner Construction for about 2 years. Then she moved to Atlanta to take a position with Skanska, USA (Beers), -- she then went to Manhattan Construction Company and remained there until 2004 when she left to work with her purported husband, an architect. After that, she became an employee of DCSC (See deposition of Patricia A. Pope, Novermber 13, 2007, pp 19-26).
At another point, Pope was asked about her relationship with Lanta during the time she was being recruited by the DCSD. The resume that was furnished to the DCSD was identified by Pat Pope.
... numerous spects of Ms. Pope's prior employment were omitted and the chronology was confusing and unexplained. - Here is some of her testimony -
Q Ok I noticed that on your resume - you gave the names of certain entities that don't appear on the resume, in your previous testimony. Was there a reason for that?
A Generally, on a resume, and I'm not positive why - since I didn't produce it - but generally on a resume, the rule of thumb is the last 15 years.
Q Ok but the way I understand it, you were employed by Eichley Engineers from 1980-1990, is that correct?
A No I didn't do that I'm not sure who did. I'm not sure who did.
Q Ok Were you at Rucilli from 1990-1994?
A No I was at Ruscilli and then Lathrop.
Q Lathrop. I'm sorry.
A Yeah, so that is really messed up.
Q Is that accurate with Skanska, USA?
A I log about -- no. Actually Skansa, no. I can't say who did that, no.
Q Did you proof your resume before they puti it on?
A No this is the first time I've seen this one.
In addition to the numerous discrepancies regarding her employement history, it is also important to not that the resume submitted to the DCSD dos not identify "Patricia Pope" as the candidate for employment. Instead, ther resume pertains to "Patricia A. Reid". ...
She repeated the use of Patricia A. Reid when she prepared and submitted her application for employment with DCSD.
The name "Mrs. Patricia A. Reid" also appears.
She identifies her employer as DeKalb County Schools with Dr. Lewis as her supervisor. Her duties are stated to be "Consultant for SPLOST Program."
Ms Pope furnishes information about her previous employment and as to "Employer/Activity1" she states that she was employed by Vincent Pope & Aossociates, Inc. as Chief Operating Officer and that her immediate supervisor was Anthony V. Pope. In the space marked "your name when employed (if different) is left blank, creating the impression that her name was Patricia Reid when she worked for Vincent Pope.
In this employment application, for the first time in this case, Ms Pope has disclosed that prior to her current employment, she held a position with the DCSD as a consultant for the SPLOST program, working under the supervision of Dr Lewis.
In addition, from Sept 2004 to Oct 2005, Ms Pope states that she was simultaneously employed by Vincent Pope & Associates (and DCSD). (Her) application leaves many unanswered questions: When did she assume the position of "consultant" for the SPLOST program? How much was she being paid as a consultant? Was she being paid with SPLOST revenue? Was Ms Pope actually a consultant for SPLOST prior to the inception of the search process conducted by Lanta? Why didn't she inform Lanta of her employment with Vincent Pope & Associates? Was the 'search' process by Lanta merely a ruse to mislead the board? ... Were Ms. Pope and Dr. Lewis concealing an ongoing confict of interest created by Ms Pope's simultaneous employment by both the BOE and one of its architects?
When you met with Ms. Pope, were there any restrictions that you placed on her regarding her involvement in matters relating to Mr. Pope?
A Yes, yes.
Q Ok Do you recall what those restrictions were?
A I think so. Mr Pope was already working on a project in DeKalb schools at the time we were doing the interviews. And Mrs. Pope and Mr. Pope came in and shared with me that they were husband and wife.
And at that time, Mrs. Alexander and Mr. Hawkins and I shared with them that there was only one option, either Mr. Pope could continue to work as an architect, or if Ms Pope took the job opportunity, he would not be able to continue working in DeKalb because of the conflict of interest.
And we -- I consulted with our attorneys and with the Board and we were in agreement that we would allow Mr. Pope to finish the work that he had -- that he had begun.
I have also learned from these documents that DCSS paid over $3.5 million to a company called Nielsen-Wurster/Marsh for an enormous 54-volume study to determine the damages to seek against Heery Mitchell. By evaluating 20 projects, the company then used an average score and applied it to all of the SPLOST 1&2 projects to come up with a figure of somewhere between $85 and 125 million in damages.
This all sprang from the fact that when originally hired, Pat Pope fired about 3 people who then sued DCSS and Heery sued for $500,000 owed.
This is from the AJC article, Huge DeKalb schools project altered, aiding spouse --
It appears that Tony Pope should not have been working on the project, regardless. Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis has said that he told Pat Pope that Tony Pope could not work as a subcontractor for the project or any others he wasn’t already working on before his wife joined the school system.
Tony Pope disputes that. He contends that he was given written permission by the school district to be a subcontractor on the project. He gave the AJC a copy of an April 2008 letter he said granted him the permission.
In it, an attorney for the school district, J. Stanley Hawkins, wrote to Lewis that he did not consider the arrangement a conflict of interest.
“I told Pat that so long as there was no actual conflict of interest — and I did not see one here — the situation did not present any legal problem at all,” Hawkins wrote. “To the extent that any issue is presented, it is one of perception.”
But Hawkins left the ultimate decision up to the school board. It’s unclear whether the board resolved the matter.
So, in the end, Lewis himself signed the contract that plainly showed Pope Architects as an approved vendor. The board approved it as well. The rest of the story revolves around whether or not Pat Pope lied about her identity - which would only be a lie if she was fully aware that her previous marriage had not been legally dissolved. (Is there a realistic motivation for that?) However, she states that she thought she had legally divorced her first husband and when she found out that the paperwork was not complete in the courthouse files, she took steps immediately to complete it. Oh, and her resume on file is messy.
What do we have here? Essentially, we have a daytime soap opera featuring a superintendent who got a car for a cheap price and who then used his school system credit card to buy gas for it - three times in one day. The District Attorney felt that this crime was worthy of an "interview". The interview must have gotten pretty intense, as it was during this interview that Lewis urged the DA to investigate Pat Pope - the most damaging item coming to the fore as a result of investigating Pope is to find out that she was not officially, legally divorced from her first husband when she married the second. And now, as far as we can tell, the whole thing has dragged out for over 15 months and we have our top two employees, each with a salary of over $200,000, on some kind of "leave". We have an interim superintendent and a board comprised of 4 of 9 members having served less than 18 months and a $100+ million revenue shortage–resulting in cuts will harm students and teachers in our classrooms, while preserving most of the fiefdom created by our housebound leader.
Is there a bigger mess anywhere? Can someone help us?