A week after planning to broaden a lawsuit against the Bibb County school system, plaintiff Brad DeFore and his attorney, Charles E. Cox Jr., agreed to drop the suit altogether.
Cox said Thursday that Superintendent Romain Dallemands buyout of $350,000 plus benefits made much of lawsuits point disappear. DeFore was challenging the legality of Dallemands contract, and Cox said last week that he intended to widen the lawsuit to include complaints about the severance payments.
If we had continued to litigate the suit, the district would have continued to pay its lawyers, it would have continued to pay Superintendent Dallemands personal lawyer. And given the issues remaining in the lawsuit, it just didnt make sense for Mr. DeFore to continue, Cox said.
As part of the agreement signed Wednesday, DeFore agreed to drop the lawsuit and not refile it. The agreement also states that Dallemands resignation and Severance Agreement were both accomplished through a proper, lawful, and public vote of the Board on behalf of both itself and the District.
The school board also agreed to pay $17,046.50 in a single check, which doesnt say whether its for damages, attorneys fees or both. Cox said that under the lawsuit, The only basis Mr. DeFore had for making any claim was attorneys fees.
DeFores suit claimed that the school system illegally granted multiyear employment contracts to Dallemand that violated state constitutional rules against long-term obligations. DeFore also claimed the school system violated the states Open Meetings Act by voting on a motion to approve Dallemands contract that left out important parts of the contract, such as another $198,000 in termination pay.
Those complaints were never resolved by the court. Under the settlement agreement, the school system does not admit it was at fault.
Cox said the school system has already changed how it writes agendas, a sign that its trying to move on. Cox said the school system didnt guarantee it would follow the laws in the future, but the laws remain in effect. Cox doesnt expect violations.
If theyve been through this, I would be surprised if they did the same thing, he said.
The school system, school board and Dallemand are still facing several other lawsuits. Macon attorney Daryl Morton said Thursday hes still trying to settle his lawsuit, which alleges that the school system has ignored his Open Records Act request for more than a year.
Former school board President Gary Bechtels lawsuit against Dallemand remains in the courts, alleging that Dallemand illegally put confidential information about Bechtels son on the school systems website.
Former Chief Financial Officer Ron Collier continues to pursue a whistle-blower lawsuit against the school system, which alleges he was punished because he stood up to Dallemands demand to cut a $1 million check for a Macon Promise Neighborhood partner. A Superior Court judge rejected Colliers request to halt rent payments toward a building for the Macon Promise Neighborhood program.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.