More Details Emerge Involving Missing $52 Million from Bibb County Schools

Today the Macon Telegraph published an article called  Report: Bibb school technology contracting suggests collusion. This was a very good report I just wish these types of articles were more timely and more frequent. It has been largely left up to bloggers to move the ball on this story and ask the tough questions. With the abundant corruption in Macon, the Telegraph needs to have these investigative reports far more often. The Cotton Avenue mafia who assisted Dallemand are all still in town and in power and they continue to feed freely from the taxpayer cookie jar. 

In an article on March 23, 2014 Former Macon Telegraph columnist David Oedel wrote the following. (It only took the Telegraph another eight months to follow up. 😳 ) Not long after that column was published Charles Richardson had Oedel fired because he would not back down on calls for an investigation.

With a wall of silence quickly descending, it’s time for U.S. Attorney Michael Moore to start issuing subpoenas. He should include Dallemand, Promise lease mastermind Cliffard Whitby and critically positioned former school system officials like Tom Tourand, who supervised the tech purchases. Also on the list should be the principals from all firms identified in the Mauldin & Jenkins audit that did irregular no-bid and/or unauthorized tech deals with Dallemand’s administration, including Progressive Consulting Technologies, Pinnacle, United Data Technologies, ADCAP Network Systems, Comp-tech Computer Technologies, Layer 3 Communications and Diversified Computer Solutions.

When you have around $52 million that has essentially vaporized with nothing to show for it, you can be damn sure there are a lot of people that had their hand out for their cut. Many I suspect are part of the so-called Cotton Avenue mafia which is a cabal that may include elected officials, companies who seem to exist solely off of government largesse, charities, and well-connected individuals appointed to various boards. 

In this article I want to supplement the Macon Telegraph article with some additional details that include links and hopefully paint a clearer picture of the people and companies mentioned.

Note: This article is a work in progress and will likely be updated numerous times to add more information as it becomes available. You can also help by adding information and details to this continuing story. Use our contact page or leave comments below the article below if you have something to add. 

A few key Highlights from the article:

  • They allege collusion among technology vendors
  • the school system paid millions of dollars for technology products the district has never used
  • Progressive Consulting Technologies of Macon, “systematically and blatantly violated the terms of their agreement with the district and all without district approval
  • another vendor was a “straw corporation” and its equipment purchase was a “sham.”
  • From July to December 2012, Dallemand ordered more than $26 million in technology equipment and services without the required, prior approval of the school board, the audit said.
  • School employees said an atmosphere of fear and intimidation had pervaded his administration, especially during his last six months on the job that included threats, investigations, and other intimidation tactics.
  • CompTech was a straw corporation for Progressive and CompTech’s alleged purchase of the devices was a ‘sham.’
  • Progressive was acting as both a project manager and a vendor and using Comp­Tech as a pass through entity.
The PSC report takes a closer look at details of about $52 million in long-range technology upgrades that the system planned to implement during Dallemand’s administration. Almost $20 million was in capital improvement funds, from education sales tax proceeds, and about $32 million was from “E-rate” funds, to be used to improve broadband capability in schools, among other uses.
 
 
All of the documents from the Professional Standards Commission report are also provided below in five parts at the end. 
 
The Macon Telegraph article provides many other facts and names. But I feel there are many other people involved that were complicit and also need to held accountable. For this reason I am extending an open invitation to the online community to help me cover this story and fill in all the missing blanks. Please let me know of any important facts and information I may have missed. You can do so by leaving comments below this article or you can use our contact page. Are other names missing, other projects, information about the induction lighting, Dallemand accomplices still in power, etc…Anything you feel may be of value or relevance. 
 
 
Bill Knowles of We Are Politics deserves more credit than anyone since he broke these stories long before the Telegraph ever considered digging deeper. So to Bill Knowles we say thank you. His exclusive on Dallemnd’s $2 million Induction lighting sham also bears further scrutiny. Another exclusive was his report that assistant superintendent Ed Judie who I believe is still employed in that position hired someone specifically to do his online degree. 
 
The Promise Neighborhood Boondoggle involving Cliffard Whitby and others continues to be a very expensive albatross around the next of the taxpayers and is sucking needed funds from our schools.
 
 
Darren Latch, a local Education activist also said under the Telegraph article in the comments “Now…. can those on the Board of Education (BOE5) who facilitated Dallemand (and others) also be investigated? Tommy Barnes III was very much entangled and provided ‘cover’ for Dallemand while the PSC sought to investigate the allegations and formal complaints.
 
The BOE5 (Tommy Barnes III, Tom Hudson, Susan Middleton, Ella Carter and Wanda West) should all be included in the FBI / State investigation – while they claimed (after the fact) that they knew nothing of what was going on, they all, beyond any doubt, had information provided to them – in detail – of what was happening….. we provided that information to them. Which is now also a matter of irrefutable PUBLIC RECORD…. They were / ARE complicit in every law which Dallemand broke!”
 

Where does Tom Hudson Fit in?

I couldn’t agree more Mr. Latch. Those five individuals still have not been held accountable for the part they played. All five of the names Mr. Latch mentions above deserve much more scrutiny but one in particular has caught my attention. Tom Hudson has been the most ardent supporter of Dallemand and even to this today continues to be a vociferous Dallemand toadie when he speaks of his old pal. Both West and Hudson were criticized for excessive travel expenses on a trip to New Orleans. Here you can see Hudson defending Dallemand on the infamous Belgium trip.
 
I want to know if Tom Hudson has any connection whatsoever to these companies listed in the collusion article. If Tom Hudson has any connection to Progressive Consulting or any other of the companies listed, I suspect a criminal investigation is warranted. I urge the BOE to immediately investigate whether he is connected to these companies.
 
I am also curious of all these connections with 100 Black Men of Macon of which Cliffard Whitby, Isaac Culver, and so many other key players all seem to be connected. This organization always seems to be front and center to all of these Dallemand scandals. Seems like a lot more than a coincidence. 💡  
 
tom hudsonGetting back to Hudson I also believe there was some controversy over the involvement of his Middle Georgia Council on Drugs as a conflict of interest since he sits on the BOE. I am not sure if his group received funds or attempted to procure contracts from the BOE budget or not, but there was some scuttlebutt over this issue some time ago.
 
There have also been reports about a connection with the Bibb County Division of Family and Child Services and Tom Hudson. I am currently investigating this connection with employees at DFACS to members of the BOE, individuals involved in Promise, and possible links to Dallemand and others. Bill Knowles was the first to notice this conflict. The DFACS director is Marjorie Almand.
 
Tom Hudson was appointed by Jack Ellis to two terms on Transit Authority Board. Hudson seems to be a perpetual thorn in the side to the other seven board members and often is the sole vote in opposition to otherwise unanimous votes. Like Cliffard Whitby I can’t seem to find any record of either of them making any income that doesn’t involve government money. I am not saying they haven’t made money outside of government contracts, simply that if they have it is hard to find any record online.
 
Tom Hudson has also been a huge thorn in the side and critic of Dr. Steve Smith who by all accounts has done a stupendous job trying to clean up the mess left by Dallemand. In a recent 7-1 vote with Hudson being the sole no vote to raise long overdue salaries Dr. Smith said
 

“I don’t understand how he can complain about overspending about ($21,000) and sit there while my predecessor abused board policy nine times without (Hudson) questioning it,” Smith said after the committee meetings. “I was creating fairness and equity in the school system so that everybody was treated fairly.”

If anyone has evidence that Tom Hudson is in any way connected to Progressive Consulting please let me know and your name will be protected. 

What Sage Local Leaders We Have in Bibb County  🙄

In addition to the infamous BOE5 that allowed Dallemnad to run through the budget like a bull in a china shop, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, Sam Hart, NewTown Macon President Mike Ford, and Industrial Authority Chairman Clifford Whitby have not issued an apology for this idiotic press conference with Dallemand standing there with his chesire cat grin. What say you now gentleman or are you still feasting on your crow pie. 
 
 Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 3.05.25 PM
 “I ask the community to stand with Dr. Dallemand and the Board of Education throughout its implementation,” said Hart. “By doing so, I believe we can move towards being an innovative and successful community. We must do better, and the Macon Miracle Plan is a start in the right direction.”

It is important to realize that Bill Knowles and many others had already raised the alarm bells far and wide when this statement was issued by Reichert and the other “sage local leaders”. :mrgreen: 

Here is a video of Reichert going on record making his now epically wrong suggestion urging macon and the school board to get on board the Dallemand choo choo express train. Reichert has been silent in regards to Dallemnd since that time. 

Cliffard Whitby (pictured above with his hand on his chin with the furtive look) said Bibb County needs to “upgrade its workforce to attract better-quality employers”. I certainly agree. He sure managed to do well for himself with only a high school degree however. Perhaps he needs to teach a course on how to become rich off of securing government contracts or to get appointed to so many boards without the relevant degrees or expertise. 

Key Players:

Since it appears the Macon Telegraph is allergic to using hyperlinks in their article I decided to provide those below where appropriate.

 

progressiveProgressive Consulting Technologies of Macon

They have a logo of the Software Engineering Institute of Carnagie-Mellon so I did some digging. Progressive claims to be “The ONLY Capabilities Maturity Model Integrated Certified in Macon, GA” 

So I decided to verify if they are a certified partner. I was suspicious since the logo lacked a link. I did NOT see Progressive Consulting listed as a certified partner. Take a look here where partners are listed alphabetically. It is illegal to advertise your business with an industry certification that you do not have.

I have already contacted this certification agency for verification.

Isaac J. Culver III, the president and CEO of Progressive Consulting Technologies (100 Black Men of Macon Cliffard Whitby connection?)

Allen Stephen, the president of CompTech Computer Technologies Inc., based in Dayton, Ohio.

CompTech Computer Technologies Inc., based in Dayton, Ohio.

A few interesting notes about Comptech. This appears to be a very small company that has a single suite in an office building. Their full address is 10 West Second Street, Suite 1111 Dayton, OH 45402. On a Supplier profile page it says “CompTech has satellite locations in Warner Robins, Georgia” but I cannot find any proof that any such entity in Warner Robins exists. 

Elert & Associates This is a Minnesota based company. Unlike Progressive and Comptech this company has a website you would expect to see without broken links and specific information on the company and services they provide along with projects they have worked on. But once I dug deeper it appears this is also a small company with only 45 employees with revenue of only $5 million.

Pinnacle CSG I am not quite sure what to make of this company. The website seems to offer a lot of flash but is short on details and substance. Their Manta business report says they were founded in 2004 and has revenue between $10 to $20 million and from 20-49 employees which is rather small for a project like Bibb county.

Diversified Computer SolutionsADCAP Network Systems, and Layer 3 Communications though not listed in the Telegraph article seem to have also been part of this feast or famine $52 million spending bonanza and deserve scrutiny along with Progressive for the role they played. 

What did Bibb get for that missing $52 million?

Not a whole hell of a lot it seems. As a computer geek myself I immediately knew these Ncomputing L300 devices were complete garbage.I also realize the IT infrastructure and hardware of Bibb county schools desperately needs upgrading. But why not use trusted companies like Apple and the ConnectED grant to modernize the hardware and bring broadband to our county? Instead they are choosing all of these small companies from all parts of the country and the students, teachers, and schools still have practically nothing to show for those tens of millions of wasted dollars. Every student in the Apple ConnectED schools will receive an iPad, allowing students to connect with topics and express themselves like never before. Every teacher and administrator will receive an iPad and a Mac to help support and inspire their students. And every ConnectED classroom will have an Apple TV to help students immerse themselves in the educational content. There is a very good reason why Apple has dominated the education market for decades and the highest performing schools go with Apple as opposed to some garbage like Ncomputing dumb terminals which lack the ecosystem that include iTunes University with free course content and support that Apple provides.

From what I have been told about Tom Tourand as opposed to being an IT expert he should be described as a luddite. And that has been the problem for a long time in Bibb county. There are a lot of very incompetent IT people who want to keep their job security by choosing obscure junk since the entire district would likely only need around 5 employees in total if they went with Apple. But Dallemand did not choose Tourand for his expertise and in fact his lack of expertise is why he was chosen.

Ncomputing  L300 (devices) sold on Amazon for $139.99 Price paid by Dallemand $253 per unit

 
 
 
 
 

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5 Comments

  1. Emily J. Bernstein August 17, 2017 Reply
  2. Darren Latch November 23, 2014 Reply
    • Alan Wood November 23, 2014
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    • Alan Wood November 23, 2014

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