Jun 8, 2011 10:04 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Tangipahoa desegregation case costs board $3M

AMITE, La. (AP) - The Tangipahoa Parish School Board has spent
$3,025,554 in connection with the revived Joyce Marie Moore
desegregation lawsuit filed in federal court against the board more
than 46 years ago, according to a new report.
That information was disclosed Tuesday when School Board member
Brett Duncan, of Hammond, circulated the report on the suit's
expenses just before the board went into an executive session near
the conclusion of its regular meeting.
The report, initialed by Schools Superintendent Mark Kolwe, was
issued in response to a request from board member Sandra
Bailey-Simmons last month asking for a total of all costs related
to the lawsuit. The case was first filed in 1965, but lay dormant
for decades before being revived four years ago.
The largest portion of the money, $874,000, was paid to Nelson D. Taylor, the legal counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The case was reactivated in 2007 through the efforts of the Tangipahoa Parish Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The board has spent $685,352 in costs paid to the law office of Charles Patin, who has assisted the board in dealings with the court over the desegregation case.
An additional $269,483 in "fees and costs" was paid to the law office of Alton Lewis and Ashley Sandage. Another lawyer, Jay Augustine, was paid $91,068 in connection with the case.
An additional major expense, $471,000, went for salaries and benefits for employees who were paid to assist in the case. A total of $208,845 was paid in salaries and benefits to what was listed as "Athletic Director" during this time period.
More money was spent by the board on planning and promotion of a tax measure placed before the voters in May that was soundly defeated. Other funds were spent on additional salaries and benefits for persons involved in the lawsuit, for office expenses, public relations and various other costs, according to the report.
Bailey-Simmons said in an interview that the figures released Tuesday do not reflect what the ultimate cost of the lawsuit might be. She said that additional money will have to be spent before the case in finally concluded.
Among the items discussed by the board in its executive session was the Joyce M. Moore case. However, the board reported when it returned to the public meeting that no action on the matter had been taken.


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