This is the text of the detailed bill issued to the Clayton County Board of Education by Lee Sexton for his involvement in the ousting of former Superintendent Dan Colwell.
Telephone conversations with Terry Jackson regarding my willingness to assist the school board regarding the Colwell matter. Initial review of statutes regarding removal and constitutional cites provided by Terry Jackson. Watched television news coverage of the dispute on television. Discussions with Terry Jackson regarding my willingness to reduce my hourly rate from $500 per hour to $375 per hour for this matter and my contacts in the local political and judicial community. 3 hours
Telephone conversations with various community leaders regarding the dispute including Terrell Starr, Bob Keller and others regarding the dispute and their view of the matters. Discussed with local media the case. Telephone conversations with Terry Jackson and review of the law. Discussed with Terry Jackson preemptive filing of declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, etc. to prevent disruption of school business. Discussions with Judge Lawson re swearing in of Board member Kellam and Chavis. 8 hours
Assist with the swearing of Kellam with Judge Lawson, obtain certified transcripts for filing with Judge Lawson and discussions with Judge Lawson his unwillingness to swear in Chavis until bond was posted and there was a dismissal with prejudice of lawsuit that would be filed by Colwell discusses in local media. Telephone conversations with George Brown regarding the lawsuit that he may file and request that we get a copy of it before hand. 6 hours.
Review preemptive pleadings with Terry Jackson and discuss strategy of filing the injunctive and declaratory judgment action, or allowing the defendants to file first and react to their pleadings. Discussion of Judges who might get assigned, and who was likely to recuse themselves from the case. Review law on constitutional discretion standard for removal of board's authority and our view that no court can remove that discretion. Discuss ultra vires acts, inability of defendant to claim ratification of illegal contract against a governmental entity and illegality of anticipatory appointments with Terry. Review anticipatory appointment attorney general opinions cited by Terry and make notes to follow up with Terry. 8 hours.
Attend board meeting until midnight, discussions with the board regarding hourly fees, legal costs, length of dispute, hearing to be conducted, and board's waiver of any conflict due to Terry's prior representation of other litigants against the school district. Review Fair Dismissal Act Notice to Colwell before the hearing and our position that superintendents are not entitled to tenure in the first instance under state law and that they are also not entitled to any notice prior to dismissal as provided by statute, and that attempts to vary the constitutional and statutory right of school district board to remove a political appointee is void and illegal if incorporated into a contract of employment. Discuss excessiveness of Colwell's contract and how a superintendent with no PhD is earning close to $250,000 a with cash equivalents. Note division on the board and immaturity of younger female members, Davis and Walker, on the board reading Avon books and chatting about nails during the meeting. Reviewed and received pleadings filed by Colwell's lawyers. Faxed and discussed documents with Terry. 12 hours.
Read and review the entire educational titles of the Georgia Code, discussion with Terry of important provisions thereof, and constitutional provisions for school boards. Discussed with Terry evidence obtained in the case, and possible criminal conduct of former board members and the fact that at least one board members may be misrepresenting her resident outside her voting district for a couple of years. Discuss witnesses who will confirm Colwell's relationships with women appointed to supervisory positions once he became superintendent, and their being named in Colwell's wife in 1996-97 divorce proceedings as women he had relationships with by his ex-wife. 15 hours.
King Holiday. Discussions with George Brown and Colwell on the telephone regarding the case, and discussions with Terry wherein Colwell acknowledged that his ex-wife named (name withheld) and (name withheld) as women he may have had relationships with during his deposition, but that he denies any such connection. Discussions regarding possible settlement of the case and request that they put any offer in writing, including waiving last 12 months so as not to thwart his retirement options. Discussions with community leaders regarding threats of criminal grand jury over the removal and threats of the DA in the newspapers and as related by newspaper and television reporters. Discussions with Terry regarding summary judgments/dismissal pleadings and the failure of the defendant to seek writ of mandamus to compel a hearing and failure to exhaust administrative remedies. 9 hours.
Discussion with George Brown and Judge Benefield her assignment to the case, and her initial thoughts on the case. Discussion regarding postponement of hearing until the parties were able to discuss possible settlement at Wednesday board meeting. Discussion with media regarding the special meeting, review strategy and presentations to the board. Discuss with Terry further evidence uncovered and witnesses to testify against Colwell at any proceedings before the board. Terry states he is preparing briefs, etc. in the event the matter is not settled for filing on Friday, discussions with Terry about presentations to the Judge and his handling those matters. 6 hours.
Discussions with Terry regarding the meeting that night, reviewing rough draft of brief he prepared at meeting before the board meeting, and board meeting that lasted until 2 a.m. where the matter was settled. Board meeting would have been significantly shorter had Latoya Walker reneged on vote approving settlement after discussing matter with Charles Mathis on the telephone and there after the board approving the exact same agreement two hours later. Held interviews with media before and after the matter was resolved and discussed with the board our initial bill and that the legal cost of the Colwell hearing would approach at least an additional $70,000 plus the approximately $75,000 that they would get billed by the close of the weekend. Discussed with board the cost savings in Colwell's contract, the risk of litigation and the fact that litigation would be expensive in this matter. 13 hours
Discussions with community leaders, press and Judge Benefield regarding the case settlement with George Brown and that no hearing would be required. Review documents and discussions with Terry. 4 hours.
Review settlement agreements and releases with terry, discussions with George Brown regarding dismissals and execution of documents and establishment of escrow to fund the buy-out. 5 hours.
Telephone conversations with Terry regarding finalization the agreements, contract language, threats of continued grand jury probes and other matters. Review contracts and Terry's comments about motions to enforce the settlement. 4 hours.
Coordinate contract drafts and exchanges George Brown and Terry meet with Terry before his meeting with board members and agree to reduce my hours for bill he was submitting to the board. Congratulate Terry on his handling of the matter and getting it wrapped up in 10 days and discussions with terry about getting the matter wrapped up. 4 hours.
Time after the above dates.
Fifteen hours reviewing final agreements, media comments, discussions with community leaders for the board, discussions and coordination with Judge Lawson regarding Chavis' swearing in and his willingness to swear in absent a dismissal once the agreement was reached.
Total hours: 112 hours, billed only 87 hours after discussion with Terry Jackson.