Much more than 4 several years back, Alabama Political Reporter initial exposed what appeared to be suspicious routines aimed at derailing Dr. Craig Pouncey’s choice as Alabama’s State Superintendent of Education and learning.
A defamation match submitted by Pouncey from previous college board member Mary Scott Hunter was recently settled with Pouncey remaining awarded $100,000 by the point out. According to Pouncey’s legal professional, Kenny Mendelsohn, no admission of liability by Hunter was provided under the terms of the settlement.
It is believed the condition put in as a great deal as a million pounds or additional on protection attorneys to secure Hunter and many others. APR was ready to establish nearly a fifty percent-million dollars in lawyers service fees paid out during the case, but assigning a final dollar figure is just about unachievable, since 4 contracts with major-tier legislation companies were being for $195 per hour and open-finished.
The settlement puts an end to many years of hearings, investigations, lawsuits, and recriminations.
Point out Board of Education associates in July 2016, each and every received an nameless bundle alleging that Pouncey plagiarized his doctoral dissertation and experienced utilised point out assets and personnel in the approach.
Except for Hunter, board users disregarded the anonymous grievance observing it as a politically enthusiastic smear campaign towards Pouncey, who was the direct contender for the superintendent’s career.
The transfer versus Pouncey initially arrived to mild when two point out senators and a lobbyist educated APR that Hunter was telling people at the 2016 Business enterprise Council of Alabama summertime accumulating that Pouncey experienced critical ethics complications and was “out of the running” for Condition Superintendent.
Later, APR described that at Hunter’s urging, then-Normal Counsel for ASDE, Juliana T. Dean, contacted the Ethics Commission.
In a letter despatched July 15, by means of e-mail from Hugh Evans III, then-Typical Counsel for the Point out Ethics Fee to the Alabama Condition Office of Schooling, Evans wrote, “We have gained a criticism alleging specific feasible violations of the Ethics Law on the portion of Warren Craig Pouncey.”
This was remarkably unconventional as, below the point out Ethics Act, ethics complaints are to be guarded with the exact secrecy of a grand jury investigation.
Public Provider Announcement
Then-point out senators Gerald Dial and Quinton Ross held a collection of bipartisan legislative committee meetings to investigate the allegations. Dial and Ross’s initiatives cast a shiny highlight on questionable routines at ALSDE.
Pouncey was later cleared of all allegations, but the damage was finished, and he was denied the superintendent’s position.
The task went to Micheal Sentance, a New England lawyer who had under no circumstances been a school superintendent. Sentance’s tenure was short-lived.
An interior investigation performed by ALSDE attorney, Michael Meyer, concluded that board member Hunter, then-interim Superintendent Philip Cleveland, and ALSDE attorneys Dean, James R. Ward III, and Susan Tudor Crowther had coordinated to deny Pouncey the task as superintendent. The inner investigation also observed unnamed men and women who could have participated in the plot.
“Most regrettably, these 5 individuals have caused grave and serious hurt,” the report mentioned, “and cast a main shadow on the veracity and trustworthiness of the State Department of Education and the Point out Board of Training (by no fault of the vast majority) that however lingers to the existing day.”
Hunter, Cleveland, Dean, Ward, and Crowther denied all of the report’s allegations.
Right after Meyer released his report, there ended up allegations of retribution from him and his wife, Tracey, a longtime legislative liaison. Meyer was transferred out of ALSDE and to the state Department of Human Sources, and his wife’s situation was eradicated without having detect.
Pouncey’s civil defamation declare also incorporated Dean, Cleveland, and Crowther. Nevertheless, Decide Roman Shaul unveiled them from the go well with, indicating Pouncey’s lawsuit “fails to allege points that reveal these particular person defendants had been the resource of any details that was disseminated to the general public and/or that these persons produced any opinions about the plaintiff that was not shielded.”
Several stories from APR chronicled what appeared to be a haphazard try to smear Pouncey.
APR investigative reporter Josh Moon, deceased colleague Sam Mattison and instruction author Larry Lee performed vital roles in bringing the make a difference to the general public attention.
Pouncey at this time serves as president of Coastal Alabama Group University.