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Attorney General Baker Files Suit Against Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko and Four Others Over Georgia Academy for the Blind Contract

PRESS ADVISORY

Attorney General Baker Files Suit Against Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko and Four Others Over Georgia Academy for the Blind Contract

July 21, 2006

Attorney General Baker announced today that he has filed suit in Columbia County Superior Court against former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko and four others over a contract for services to be performed at the Georgia Academy for the Blind. The lawsuit alleges that not only were the services under the contract never requested by the Academy, the services were not ever performed. The others named in the lawsuit include Merle Temple, Schrenko’s then-Deputy State Superintendent, Miller Finley, Schrenko’s then-Associate State School Superintendent, CallingPost Communications, the corporate entity with whom Schrenko’s department contracted, and Phillip Alexander, the CEO of CallingPost.

Under state purchasing and contracting requirements, at the time of the contract, Schrenko was required to submit all contracts for over $50,000 to the state Board of Education for approval. In July 2002, a check was cut to CallingPost, ostensibly for the cost of voice messaging services, in the amount of $49,500. No contract existed between CallingPost and the state Department of Education, nor had CallingPost provided any goods or services to DOE at that time. No contract was entered into between DOE and CallingPost until after state auditors demanded documentation supporting the issuance of the check in August 2002. In September 2002, Schrenko entered into a contract with Alexander, on behalf of CallingPost, which stated that Calling Post would provide “automated telephone communications” to the Academy from June 24, 2002 until December 31, 2002 for the price of $49,500. The Georgia Academy for the Blind did not need nor request CallingPost to provide services, and telephone messaging services were not on the list of technology needs for the Academy. The state Board of Education terminated CallingPost’s contract on November 14, 2002. No services were ever provided to the Academy prior to or after that date under the contract.

The lawsuit seeks damages against each of the defendants, as well as pre-judgment interest. The CallingPost contract was looked at during the federal criminal investigation of Schrenko and Temple, but the contract was not part of the federal restitution order.