Trustees with the Beaumont Independent School District voted 4-2 against taking action regarding millions of dollars in forfeited funds that it has a right to seek. The forfeited money comes from Walker's Electric. Electrician Calvin Walker forfeited $3.2 million dollars as part of a plea deal he accepted with the US Attorney's office.
Federal prosecutors had charged Walker with 37 counts related to over billing the Beaumont School District by nearly $4 million for work done by his company in 2007. A trial ended in a hung jury last December.
In a plea deal accepted last July, Walker pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to pay taxes in a timely manner. The 37 charges of fraud involving his work with BISD were dropped. Following the plea deal, trustees voted 4 to 2 to extend the district's contract with Walker's electric for repairs... installation... and maintenance services into the next school year.
Thursday night's vote on whether to seek those forfeited funds, was also a 4-2 vote. Several protestors lined the back of the board room, and during the communication period, two people spoke in favor of going after the funds. Trustee Tom Neild asked the board members to publicly say why they would not file the claim. A heated discussion ensued. They also discussed the deadline of 35 days and there were some arguments over whether that really existed. Woodrow Reece asked for an affidavit saying the district was owed this money and he says as far as he was concerned the discussion was mute.
Trustee Mike Niel went through court papers stating what he believes to be the over billing examples. After 10pm, the board voted with a 4-2 vote against going after the money.
The board also discussed the ratifying the Attorney General's opinion regarding appointment of trustees to the 2013 At- Large positions.
The school District's Attorney Melody Chappell reported she has gathered information on the 5-2 redistricting plan, but the racial breakdown of voters in the district is still missing. She reported that the county is still creating a formula to get those numbers and that the other information has been sent to the Department of Justice.
Absent from the tonight's meeting was Janice Brassard. Her husband, attorney Raymond Brassard died yesterday afternoon following an illness.