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.”
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.