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Petition submitted to State Bar of Georgia for fee arbitration

State Bar of Georgia petition for fee arbitration

Date: "March 27, 2003

Attorney's Name "Terry D. Jackson"

1. What is the total amount of attorney's fee? "$41,799.50."

2. How much of this amount is in dispute? "$26,799.50."

3. How much has been paid to the attorney? "0."

4. In what city & state were the legal services performed or supposed to have been performed? "Jonesboro, GA."

5. When were the legal services performed? "Jan. 13, 2003 n Jan. 22, 2003."

6. On EXACTLY what date did the fee dispute first arise? "Feb. 3, 2003."

7. For what type of case or legal services was the attorney employed? "Removal of Dan Colwell as special matter counsel for this purpose."

8. Briefly list the main reasons you feel the fee is not correct (or is correct).

a.) "Atty. Jackson stated verbally that initial cost would be between $10,000 and $15,000."

b.) "Items charged to bill dates before Atty. Jackson was hired as special counsel and date past final bill."

c.) "Some items on the bill have been recorded on 2 different dates (doubled-billing)."

d.) "Both Atty. Jackson and Sexton listed items that are duplicates."

e.) "Atty. Jackson is billing system for services that were part of his services."

10. Have you made a good faith effort to resolve this dispute? "Yes."

If the answer is yes, list the details of that effort including all offers made or received. If the answer is no, you must do so before filing this Petition.

"After Feb. 3, 2003, Atty. Gary Sams made contact with Atty. Jackson to offer him a $25,000 settlement. On Feb. 15, 2003, Gary Sams provided board with update information on legal fees. At this time, Atty. Jackson had only agreed to cut his bill a small amount and Atty. Sexton stated that he would not. Board decided to move forward with ABA. He mentioned that the school board was willing to pay both attorneys $25,000 as a settlement."

11. Is this dispute over attorney fees presently the subject of litigation in any court? "No."

12. Did you have a written contract? "No."

13. DO YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE RESULTS OF THE ARBITRATION? "Yes."

Signed by Connie Kitchens, Board Vice Chairwoman on March 27, 2003.

STATE BAR OF GEORGIA PETITION FOR FEE ARBITRATION

Date: "March 27, 2003."

Attorney's Name "Lee Sexton."

1. What is the total amount of attorney's fee? "$29,050."

2. How much of this amount is in dispute? "$29,050."

3. How much has been paid to the attorney? "0."

4. In what city & state were the legal services performed or supposed to have been performed? "Jonesboro, GA."

5. When were the legal services performed? "Jan. 17, 2003 n Jan. 22, 2003."

6. On EXACTLY what date did the fee dispute first arise? "Feb. 3, 2003."

7. For what type of case or legal services was the attorney employed? "Assisting Terry Jackson as special matter counsel in the removal of Dan Colwell."

8. Briefly list the main reasons you feel the fee is not correct (or is correct).

a.) "Atty. Sexton was only granted permission to assist Terry Jackson in the special matter counsel in the removal of Dan."

b.) "Atty. Jackson had stated that he would be responsible for paying Atty. Sexton and not the board."

c.) "Items charged to bill dates before Atty. Sexton was granted permission to assist with this matter."

d.) "Both attorneys have billed system for some duplicity items."

10. Have you made a good faith effort to resolve this dispute? "Yes."

If the answer is yes, list the details of that effort including all offers made or received. If the answer is no, you must do so before filing this Petition.

"This was not an offer to pay the bill; but to explain what agreement had been arranged with Atty. Jackson. This offer was to see what could be worked out. Atty. Sexton stated that he had planned to waive his fee because he's a Clayton County resident, but changed his mind because he felt insulted when the board questioned the amount. He also stated that he would donate his fee to charity."

11. Is this dispute over attorney fees presently the subject of litigation in any court? "No."

12. Did you have a written contract? "No."

13. DO YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE RESULTS OF THE ARBITRATION? "Yes."

Signed by Connie Kitchens, Board Vice Chairwoman on March 27, 2003.

9. (For both petitions) On separate paper please state in DETAIL (1) the nature of the dispute, (2) the particulars of your position, and (3) any relevant dates. State the amount of attorney fee that you feel is correct. This is your opportunity to explain your side of the fee dispute. Please take advantage of it by being complete, yet concise in answering this question.

1. The initial stated cost of the attorney fees by Terry Jackson is inflated by $55,000.00. Initially Attorney Jackson stated his fees went from $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 to a presented bill to the Board of $70,849.50. We also dispute fees from Attorney Lee Sexton. Atty. Jackson stated that he would be responsible for Atty. Sexton's fees if we allowed Atty. Sexton to assist him. However, Atty. Sexton presented the Board with a bill for $29,050.00.

2. Due to receiving the bill for $70,849.50, it has placed a tremendous burden on the school board. We were led to believe that this would only cost between $10,000.00 and $15,000.00. This was communicated to the Board and the Clayton County community. Members of the community have voiced their opinions regarding this bill. We, as Board members know that the bill is an excessive amount. We also believe that we have been double billed and the amount of time has been taken to the extreme. There are times charged for items that should be a part of normal fees- Example: reading the newspaper.

3. January 8, 2003 n Spoke with Terry Jackson on conference call about the possibility of Mark Armstrong being illegal during his last two years on the board and removing Dan Colwell from the Superintendent's position with the Clayton County School Board. On this conference call were Nedra Ware, Linda Crummy and Connie Kitchens. We set up an informal meeting for Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 3:00 p.m. in Attorney Jackson's office to enlighten him of the information that we were in receipt of.

4. January 12, 2003 at 3:00 p.m. n Nedra Ware, Linda Crummy and Connie Kitchens met with Attorney Jackson to discuss the details of hiring him. When asked about his fees, Attorney Jackson stated that it would cost between $10,000 and $15,000.00 unless Bobby Lee Cook had to come on board to assist him. We made arrangements for Terry Jackson to be present at the Monday, January 13, 2003 called meeting. He stated he would bring a contract with him to the meeting.

5. January 13, 2003 n Attorney Jackson attended the Board meeting and the majority of the Board voted to hire Attorney Jackson and Bobby Lee Cook to handle matters as far as the dismissal of Dan Colwell. They were hired as "special matter counsel", particularly for this purpose.

6. January 14, 2003 n Went to Attorney Jackson's office to discuss Mr. Colwell's refusal to leave office, the swearing in of Bill Chavis and Carol Kellam. He informed us that he would call his friend, Lee Sexton to assist him. He explained that Attorney Sexton was familiar with the system and judges in Clayton County. When asked how much Attorney Sexton would change, Attorney Jackson stated that he would be responsible for paying Attorney Sexton. He explained that this sort of thing happened all the time between attorneys. Terry reassured us that by Lee being a resident of the county, it would help make the situation better.

7. January 15, 2003 n Nedra Ware and Linda Crummy returned to Attorney Jackson's office to discuss current situation with Dan Colwell and to pick up copies of the official minutes from the court reporter. Connie Kitchens, Bill Chavis and Carol Kellam met Attorney Sexton at Judge Eugene Lawson's office for the swearing in of Carol Kellman to the Clayton County School Board.

8. January 16, 2003 n Spoke with Attorney Jackson on the phone several times to finalize the Called Meeting on January 17, 2003. We also went to Attorney Jackson's office at 4:00 p.m. to review the final plans. Attorney Jackson stated that we needed to vote to add Attorney Sexton on to assists him. When asked why? He stated that the community and other board members had questioned Lee's appearance on TV as a spoke person for the school system. He mentioned that without the board giving approval, Lee would not be able to assist with this matter and expressed how much Lee's expertise was needed.

9. January 17, 2003 n Called meeting to handle Dan Colwell's situation. At this meeting, several board members asked Attorney Jackson how much he was charging. He stated that his fee was at about $5,000.00 now. He was asked was his representation a conflict because he was also representing Bill Chavis and Doris Walker. He stated that it was not a conflict. He told the board members that he has released himself as their counsel. He was asked, again, about providing us a contract in writing. He stated that he would get one to us and said his fee would be $225.00 per hour. Since several community members and board members questioned how Lee Sexton became involved and who was paying his bill, Attorney Jackson explained that Attorney Sexton would be assisting him and he would be responsible for paying Attorney Sexton. He stated that Attorney Sexton was familiar with the judges and the system in Clayton County and would be very valuable with Judge Benefield when handling Dan Colwell's injunction and the media, and how well he handled Carol Kellman's swearing in. Attorney Jackson stated that Attorney Lee Sexton would only be assisting him. When the motion was put to the floor to affirm the appointment of Terry Jackson and Bobby Lee Cook as Special Matters Legal Counsel, pertaining to Dan Colwell in any hearing that was required for his removal, Lee Sexton was added to the motion as assistance to Terry Jackson.

10. January 18-21, 2003 n Several phone calls to discuss the buy-out of Dan Colwell.

11. January 22, 2003 n Meeting to discuss and reach decision about Mr. Colwell's settlement. At this meeting, Attorneys Jackson and Sexton informed us that if they had to continue working on this matter, it would cost 100 hours at $250.00 per hour, about $25,000.00. We reached an agreement with Dan Colwell and the mater did not have to go any further. Both attorneys stated that this would end their service as of board members signatures. He also stated that his service would be available to us, at no charge, to handle any aftermath from this case.

12. January 23-26,2003 n Phone calls to discuss outcome and set directions for the Board in future. Terry agreed to assist us "Free of Charge" with our meeting on Monday, January 27, 2003 with various ministers of the community. Terry also stated that he would be filing charges with the Attorney General and speaking to the county DA regarding the situation with Mark Armstrong.

13. January 27, 2003 n Linda Crummy, Nedra Ware, Bill Chavis and Connie Kitchens met with Terry Jackson at 6:00 p.m. to discuss position with the ministers' group. At this point, Attorney Jackson presented a final bill to us and stated that his job that he was hired was over. He mentioned that he would be happy to assist the school board in any other legal area that might occur in the future.

14. January 30, 2003 n After an open record request, from the News Daily, had been fulfilled about lawyers' fees, we learned that Attorney Jackson had written a letter to the School Board insurance lawyer on Nedra Ware's behalf, asking him to settle Doris Walker and William Chavis' law suits as soon as possible. Ms. Ware had mailed copies to Gary Sams and Mr. Bass on Attorney Jackson's advice.

15. February 2, 2003 n Latoya Walker, Nedra Ware, Linda Crummy and Connie Kitchens visited Attorney Jackson's office at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the amount of the bill and him giving Nedra Ware advice about Mr. Chavis and Ms. Walker's lawsuits. We reminded him about the initial amount, between $10,000.00 and $15,000.00, what he said about paying Lee Sexton himself and how some of the work, pertaining to Mark Armstrong, he claims he did was actually done by someone we knew. Terry only had to send someone to retrieve the paperwork. He stated that he may be able to cut his bill by 10% and asked Lee Sexton to do the same.

16. February 3, 2003 n Terry Jackson came to the meeting to obtain board member signatures on the final agreement with Dan Colwell. The Board voted to allow the school board's attorney, Gary Sams, to offer Terry Jackson $25,000.00 for his entire services rendered and he would still be responsible for paying any others he obtained assistance from. If he refused, the Board would seek information to take Attorney Jackson to arbitration.

The Board feels:

1) $25,000.00 for services provided is fair and just.

2) Lee Sexton and any others who assisted Attorney Jackson should be paid by him as agreed.