The former chief operating officer for DeKalb County schools was sentenced to 15 years in prison and her former husband was sentenced to eight years in prison for manipulating construction contracts that paid the husband $1.4 million for work he should not have received.
One-time COO Pat Reid and architect Tony Pope both were sentenced as first offenders, meaning their convictions will be erased if they successfully complete their prison sentences, pay restitution and then complete their probation — 10 years for Reid and 12 years for Pope.
At the same time, the sentencing of former DeKalb County School Superintendent Crawford Lewis was not completed. Judge Cynthia Becker rejected prosecutors’ recommendation that he be sentenced to 12 months on probation for misdemeanor obstruction, saying he deserved to be jailed.
She told Lewis he could reconsider his plea in light of her decision to reject the punishment prosecutors recommended.
Becker allowed Lewis to discuss his situation with his attorney before she imposed the final sentence.
Reid and Pope were convicted almost 3 1/2 weeks ago. The jury found Reid guilty of racketeering and theft for manipulating school construction contracts and Pope was convicted of racketeering.
Lewis had initially been charged with racketeering and theft as well but he pleaded guilty on Oct. 16, little more than a week before the trial began, to misdemeanor obstruction for interferring with the District Attorney’s Office investigation of him and Reid, an investingation that began eight years ago. One of the terms of Lewis’ plea deal was that he testify for the prosecution, which he did.
When Reid was hired as the districts chief operating officer, one of the conditions was that her then husband, Pope, could complete the contract he already had for renovations at Columbia High School but he could get not more system work as long as his wife was in charge of school construction. The jury agreed with prosecutors that Pope, and his firm A. Vincent Pope & Associates collected $1.4 million in fees for work he should not have been awarded.
Prosecutors allege Reid sent work to her husband by presenting new work at Columbia as an extension of what he was already contracted to do and then Pope allegedly overcharged the district.
Prosecutors also contend Pope helped a contractor and another architect, both unindicted co-conspirators, adjust their proposals for the McNair renovations to win the contract. Pope later was the architect, working in the background, on renovations at the McNair Elementary School Cluster.
Reid also was convicted of theft for having school district workers repair her county-issued Ford Explorer just before she bought it for one-third its value. The SUV was eventually returned after an investigation of the purchase began.
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