Dallemand’s permanent residence is now Haiti, attorney says

jmink@macon.comMarch 6, 2014 


Former Bibb Superintendent Romain Dallemand

JASON VORHEES/THE TELEGRAPH — jvorhees@macon.com

Former Bibb County School Superintendent Romain Dallemand’s permanent residence is now Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

School system attorneys received an e-mail March 4 from an attorney representing Dallemand, who said Dallemand was willing to sit for a deposition in an ongoing legal case involving the school district, but that deposition must be taken in Haiti, said Randy Howard, chief legal counsel for the Bibb County school district. The case involves an alleged rape at Northeast High School.

Dallemand, who is a native of Haiti, was blasted in a recent audit, which says the former superintendent repeatedly violated board policy from July to December 2012. The audit says Dallemand ordered more than $26 million in technology equipment and services without required board approval. The audit also criticized obligations related to the Macon Promise Neighborhood project.

Repeated attempts to reach Dallemand have been unsuccessful.

Now, a prosecutor will decide whether a criminal investigation of Dallemand’s actions is warranted.

Asked what Dallemand’s out-of-country residence could mean for a potential criminal investigation, Lauren Kane, director of communications with the state Attorney General’s Office, said she could not speculate on a potential investigation.

The school board voted Tuesday to fully cooperate with any investigation into the actions of Dallemand. The board unanimously voted to waive the confidentiality of any executive session discussions pertaining to issues identified in the 2013 audit. The board also waived its attorney-client privilege so its attorneys can give information to the special prosecutor assigned to the investigation.

District Attorney David Cooke requested the state’s involvement because of his prior agreement to serve on a Promise Center board.

Kane told The Telegraph that a special prosecutor has not yet been chosen, and there is no current time line for that selection.

Additionally, the school board decided Tuesday to deem the “n-computing” devices and management software that Dallemand ordered as surplus items. Dallemand issued a nearly $3.8 million purchase order for 15,000 of the n-computing virtual desktops, the audit says, a vast majority of which have not been used within the system. About 14,800 of them are sitting in a warehouse. Now, the district will try to resell the devices, though officials only expect to get 50 to 60 percent of the original price, which could mean a loss of nearly $1.9 million. Additionally, the management software is inefficient for the Bibb school system, and the company has indicated it will buy the software back from the district for about $1.1 million -- which would mean a loss of more than $2 million. Dallemand issued a $3.2 million purchase order for the software, according to the audit.

In several cases, the school board approved the purchase orders months after they were made. Some board members have said they did not know about the violations at the time, and others have said they had suspicions.

Some school board members said they later approved the contracts on the advice of attorneys. Interim Superintendent Steve Smith told The Telegraph that attorneys advised board members to approve contracts on four occasions, and attorneys said they based that advice on potential litigation due to a breach of contract, Smith said.

Howard said he wanted to be open about the situation, but that he could not comment due to attorney-client privilege. The board resolution to waive attorney-client privileges only pertains to the special prosecutor in the criminal investigation, he said.

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