That was the impetus for the national search for a construction professional to oversee the district’s building program, rather than an administrator, Lewis testified.
He said, “I was thrilled” to get Reid’s application.
In the first interview, Reid — who was Pat Pope at the time — told Lewis about her husband’s contracts with the school district, but she did not reveal she also was a principal in A. Vincent Pope & Associates, Lewis said.
She was offered the job with a $190,000 salary during the second interview. Lewis said her husband was invited to that interview so he would understand that he could finish the contracts he already had — at Columbia High School — but could not do any more work for the district as long as his wife was COO.
“I had found someone I was really interested in employing,” Lewis said. “I thought I had found someone who really fit.”
Lewis originally had been a co-defendant himself. Like Reid, he was charged with racketeering and three counts of theft by taking. But less than two weeks before jury selection began, he made a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction for trying to sidetrack the district attorney’s investigation of him and Reid and agreed to testify for the prosecution. The case has been pending since the first of three versions of the indictment was returned more than 3 1/2 years ago.
In exchange for his testimony, Lewis will get a much lighter sentence, no more than 12 months in jail instead of up to 65 years in prison. Reid could be sentenced to 65 years if she is convicted of all the charges, and Pope is facing 30 years if he is convicted of one count of racketeering and one count of theft by taking.
Lewis testified only 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon. He is to continue testifying today.