School Board Has No Inquiries Concerning Construction Report

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Leon County School Board hired attorney Hank Coxe last year to investigate allegations of wrongdoing involving school construction but will not be returning this week to give details on his findings.

Last Tuesday, Leon County School Board members signaled that they have no questions for Coxe during a board meeting.

Coxe, of the Bedell Law Office in Jacksonville, conveyed his report of the claims and related matters to board members during their meeting on June 23. Nevertheless, he didn't give a point-by-point presentation, telling individuals he was giving it to them for their review.

School board members did not submit questions to Coxe via email by the deadline like they originally planned. Instead, they planned not to bring him back for the upcoming meeting.

Opal McKinney-Williams, an attorney for the district, reiterated to the board members about the deadline to submit any questions they may have for Coxe.

"We've not received any questions," Williams said. "But we wanted to check to make sure to see if anyone had any. And if not, just kind of get … a head nod or shake about whether the Bedell firm needs to come back. If you have no questions, then no need."

The board members made it clear that they had nothing to ask.

"It's pretty obvious to me," said School Board member Dee Crumpler.

In Coxe’s report, he stated that the district did not always hire construction supervisors that are employed to administer major school ventures, as indicated by state law.

Coxe also reported that Pons and abnormal state directors purposefully organized ventures to come in less than a $2 million edge, setting off a focused determination process. The $2-million limit applies just to proceeding with contracts, which the district didn't have set up at the time.

Prior to this year, the Florida Auditor General found that the locale did not take after an aggressive determination process from mid-2011 through mid-2014 for 21 of 23 checked undertakings, which had expenses extending from $926,286 to $1.99 million.

"The benefits of the competitive selection process for (construction managers) required by law appear to have been thwarted," said the Auditor General.

The FBI is examining the region with help from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, however Coxe's report noticed the state organization may have its own investigative premiums.   

Coxe discovered no confirmation that development contracts were partitioned or allotted "with criminal or deceitful aim" or any proposal that School Board individuals occupied with wrong direct.