Atlanta Public Schools and City of Atlanta trade heated letters over the Beltline dispute

The AJC reports today that the Atlanta Public Schools and the City of Atlanta have sent letters that may appear to further inflame an already heated dispute over the $19 million owed by the Atlanta Beltline project to APS. In the article (see here), Katie Leslie with the AJC reports:

 …letters sent between APS and city attorneys, obtained through an open records request, reveal those talks have worsened and may be heading to litigation — a move that could hinder the city’s efforts to build out the green space project.

 A law firm hired by APS sent a scathing letter to Reed’s administration last week accusing city leaders of a breach of contract over the Beltline agreement.[APS outside counsel] demanded the city and Invest Atlanta… submit millions in late payments to avoid the “trouble and expense” of a “protracted legal action.”

City Attorney Cathy Hampton countered this week with accusations APS is falsely portraying the Reed administration as uncooperative and said the school system has ignored its own role in the financial fiasco. Describing the missive as “threatening,” Hampton said while the administration would prefer to “work toward resolution,” it “always stands ready and willing to litigate.”

To see more background on the dispute, see posts on the topic here, here and here.

As I have noted in those posts, since Mayor Reed took over as the lead negotiator for the City, all he needed to do was call a meeting to resolve the matter. As recently as last month, APS officials confirmed that Reed had never attempted to convene a negotiating session.

My sense is that the APS Board has now reached a level of frustration with Reed’s lack of responsiveness and unwillingness to even meet to discuss the issue and the letter sent to the City is simply an attempt to try to move the process forward.

Mayor Reed – why will you not set a time and date to discuss the issue? Fighting it out in the headlines will get us nowhere.

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3 Responses to Atlanta Public Schools and City of Atlanta trade heated letters over the Beltline dispute

  1. tom tidwell says:

    I don’t understand why most lawyers don’t understand and follow the adage “You get more bees with honey than with vinegar.” In 21 years as a trial lawyer, I have never seen anyone respond to an inflammatory and threatening letter with “You’re right, here is everything you want.” All it does is make subsequent negotiations less fruitful. If you want something, ask for it nicely and lay out your case why you’re entitled to it. If they say no, file suit but keep the avenues of communication open because 95 times out of 100, your case will settle. I don’t know if APS can recover their attorney’s fees, but if they cannot, then Troutman Sanders should be doing everything it can to resolve it as quickly as possible.

  2. Beverly Fraud says:

    We’ve yet to have an honest conversation about this.

    You can make a strong, in fact very strong case, that Kasim Reed, doing the dirty work of the “bidness” community did everything in his power to politically protect Beverly Hall, going so far as working with Mark Elgart to threaten to revoke APS accreditation if the board did return as board chair the woman who was actively conspiring with Beverly Hall to cover up evidence of cheating.

    Flash forward: How much of Kasim Reed’s intransigence on this matter comes from the feeling of him thinking he did his bit to do the dirty work to protect Hall, APS and “brand Atlanta” when it was asked of him, now he feels “owed”?

    He much easier would it be to damage Reed’s position, as far as him thinking he can get away with this, if the truth was told, LOUD and CLEAR, about his efforts to politically protect Beverly Hall?

    Of course since Atlanta is unwilling to have these types of honest conversations, it continues to get the substandard schools and government it RICHLY and FULLY deserves, does it not?

  3. Beverly Fraud says:

    Speaking of the AJC, check out the Get Schooled blog for the latest debacle/educational travesty at Young Middle School.

    Or, if you don’t have time to check it out, here is the summary:

    Yet AGAIN, Atlanta Public Schools gets it wrong.

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