AG’s Office requests more information in Dallemand case

jmink@macon.comMarch 11, 2014 

State attorneys have asked for more information in the potential criminal investigation of former School Superintendent Romain Dallemand’s actions.

As the Attorney General’s Office considers a probe, it needs more information than the 2013 audit of the Bibb County school system, which alone does not include enough evidence for a criminal investigation, according to a letter obtained by The Telegraph. The letter was sent March 4 to interim Superintendent Steve Smith from Senior Assistant Attorney General David McLaughlin.

The letter initially informed the school district that District Attorney David Cooke had disqualified his office from taking part in any potential investigation. Cooke requested the state’s involvement due to his prior agreement to serve on the board of the Macon Promise Center.

Besides ordering more than $26 million in technology equipment and services without required board approval, the audit criticized spending related to the Macon Promise Neighborhood project.

The attorney general is tasked with appointing a special prosecutor when a district attorney is disqualified or has a conflict of interest.

“Usually, such a conflict is asserted after a criminal investigation has been completed,” McLaughlin said in the letter. “Here, there has not been an investigation, nor is there anything facially evident in the Annual Financial Report which would warrant a criminal investigation.”

In the letter, McLaughlin said he understands the school district has information that might support the initiating of a criminal investigation. He requested a detailed summary of the allegations and any relevant, supporting documents or materials.

“Because Mr. Cooke’s office has been disqualified, right now I am limited to only what is contained in the audit report,” he said in the letter.

On March 4, the Bibb County school board voted unanimously to fully cooperate with a potential investigation. The board voted to waive confidentiality of executive-session discussions pertaining to issues identified in the audit. The board also voted to waive its attorney-client privilege, so its attorneys can disclose information to a special prosecutor.

Asked about the letter, Lauren Kane, the communications director with the Attorney General’s Office, declined to comment, citing the pending nature of the case.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 744-4331.

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