COATESVILLE, Pa., (CBS) — A school district rocked by a text message scandal — tonight, the school board is hearing from outraged parents following new revelations.
All this comes on the heels of a big announcement about the Coatesville Area School Board from the Chester County District Attorney.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan stated, “Every time we pick up something in Coatesville, we find something else to look at.”
The Coatesville Area School District Board, already under investigation for financial improprieties, according to the Chester County District Attorney, is delaying investigators from exposing the truth and hindering his investigation.
“As we’re looking at the rest of the investigation, all of a sudden, we had this obstruction going on, this repeated attempts to slow down the investigation and then people started bringing to our attention these legal fees and the other expenses that were being rung up by this law firm and that’s then what triggered this investigation,” Hogan said.
In response, the Coatesville School Board President Neil Campbell said, “I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know what we can legally hand over with people’s names, social security numbers and everything else, so that’s up to the lawyers to decide, I’m not a lawyer, that’s why we have a solicitor, that’s why we have legal counsel.”
Prosecutors agree and explained that’s precisely why they launched a new investigation into the board’s solicitor, James Ellison and his law firm: Rhoads & Sinon based in Harrisburg.
“We are investigating both for obstruction of justice and for whether or not the law firm and the solicitor were defrauding the school district, regarding the millions of dollars in legal fees that have been charged over the past few years,” Hogan went onto say, “This law firm has been representing the school district for approximately the last ten years. We’re also looking at some of the other individual expenses and some of the individual bills. These are bills you should not see from a school district, particularly a school district that is laying off teachers, a school district that doesn’t have the time or the money apparently to educate their students properly.”
This disheartening news for parents and tax payers, in a community rocked by the resignations of Schools Superintendent Richard Como and Athletic Director Jim Donato last month following the discovery of their racist and sexist text messages.
Hogan concluded, “We’re really following the money to see where it’s been spent, what it’s been spent on and whether or not it’s been approved by the school board.”
- Chesco DA says Coatesville school board hindering his investigation (philly.com)
- Coatesville school board denies accusations of bias (parkesburggazette.wordpress.com)
- Lawyer alleges two harassed in Coatesville (parkesburggazette.wordpress.com)
- Lack of cooperation in Coatesville schools racism case? (bizjournals.com)
- Coatesville school board firm against ouster calls (parkesburggazette.wordpress.com)