Bibb schools 'virtual desktops' explained
The company that allegedly sold $3.2 million in nonexistent software to the Bibb County school district five years ago has 30 days to either produce the software or explain why it cannot, a judge ordered Friday.
Isaac Culver, 47, of Lizella; Dave Carty, 48, of Macon; and Progressive Consulting Technologies Inc., are among the defendants accused of participating in a series of fraudulent acts in a scheme to sell the school district unneeded or nonexistent technology services and products.
Tom Joyce, an attorney for the school district, said that Pinnacle/CSG Inc. — a Florida construction and technology company also named in the suit — never produced the software. The company also did not respond to a request that the district’s lawyers sent in July for the software to be produced.
Jack McLean Jr., a lawyer representing Pinnacle, said during Friday’s hearing that it would cost $35,000 to get the software into an operable format.
“It is inconceivable to me that the plaintiff has not seen software it paid millions for,” U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell said at one point. “I can certainly understand Mr. Joyce’s suspicion that this software never existed. ... It seems to me, Mr. McLean, that either you can produce the software or you can’t.”
McLean will have 30 days to do so — or explain why.
At the start of the hearing, which was originally to discuss whether the case could be resolved out of court, Treadwell voiced concerns about the status of discovery, or the pretrial disclosure of pertinent factual information.
McLean said he wasn’t aware of the July request or any other outstanding requests from the school district. Lawyers representing Progressive, Culver and Carty said they were never contacted by the school district regarding discovery.
The judge asked what the school district’s lawyers were doing, having not received responses from the companies since July.
“That makes me think the plaintiffs aren’t minding their business in this case as they should,” Treadwell said.
Progressive’s lawyers also said the school district has not produced, in the requested format, the 60,000 or so pages of documents that the school district supplied to law enforcement.
“It certainly seems to me that picking up the phone would have allowed y’all to get on the same page,” Treadwell said.
Joyce said it would cost $10,000 and about 555 hours to fulfill the request, which specifically asked for the documents to be Bates Stamped and in a PDF format. That file format would allow the documents to be shared among several types of computers without losing the formatting.
The request for the large number of documents is something the school district “needs to come to grips with,” Treadwell said.
Depositions will be postponed unless Progressive’s lawyers want to move forward.
“Given that it is Progressive that wants arbitration ... and given criminal indictments, I think it’s reasonable to put the issue of timing on Progressive, at least for now,” Treadwell said.