The landlord of the Macon Promise Center wants a chance to stop efforts by the Bibb County school systems former finance chief to break a controversial $5.75 million lease agreement.
The Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development Inc. filed an emergency motion Monday to intervene in the case. The partnership worries that the school system wont put up a strong defense of the lease agreement because the schools are busy fighting other parts of a lawsuit filed by the former finance chief, Ron Collier, and could make a deal.
There are substantial whistle-blower claims asserted by the plaintiff against the School District in this case, which may compromise the School Districts defense of the Lease Agreement, wrote attorney James J. Thomas II, who is representing the partnership. There is the potential for the School District to reach a settlement with the plaintiff involving the School District sacrificing the Lease Agreement in return for concessions by the plaintiff on his other claims against the School District.
School system officials and Colliers attorney did not return messages seeking comment.
A hearing into Colliers motion to stop rent payments is slated for 9:30 a.m. Friday in Bibb County Superior Court.
Thats also the same time motions will be heard in another case, which seeks to void an employment contract and stop all payments for Superintendent Romain Dallemand.
The school system has not yet replied to either of those cases.
The school systems lease with the partnership is for half of the building, about 50,000 square feet, beginning in July. The partnership, which is a nonprofit organization, would keep the other half of the building to support the Macon Promise Neighborhood initiative.
Colliers suit claims the lease agreement could result in the unconstitutional and illegal expenditure of school taxpayer funds. Collier argues that the suit illegally obligates the school system for a decade of payments. State law regulates how school systems can approve multiyear contracts.
Then-board President Tommy Barnes signed the rent agreement in July. The full school board later agreed to pay $1 million to renovate the Macon Promise Center, housed in the former Ballard-Hudson Middle School building, and also pay Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development another $3.25 million over 10 years for utilities and other costs related to the Macon Promise Neighborhood program.