- Elliott Stonecipher
- Caddo Superintendent Lamar Goree
March 27, 2016
From the top, readers should know that what transpired the night before last, and into the wee hours of yesterday morning, was a reporting of Caddo Parish school system maladministration, if not malfeasance, from and by a whistle-blower who knows a lot about the system and its top officials. This person chose social media to disgorge these serious charges.
Much to the outrage of “friends” of top system bosses, this whistle-blower wrote anonymously. Such is increasingly likely anymore, especially since the Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2013, awarded an anonymous whistle-blower $14,000,000 (SEE article here).
Put simply, what I have learned in the past less-than-two days is consequential. This is a public school system, funded by just under a half-billion of our tax dollars every year. These are public officials who work for us, NOT private citizens.
The subject social media posts by this whistle-blower have now been removed, and we do not know who did that, or made it happen. Impossible to remove, however, are either early posts otherwise captured, or private messages conveyed within this social media platform.
I moved my interaction with the whistle-blower to that messaging capability based on what I have personally experienced with Superintendent T. L. Goree. He is fervently opposed to official transparency, which he demonstrates by his overt refusal to act according to our Louisiana Public Records Law.
During the subject exchanges, I notified three state and federal investigative authorities as to what was underway. I am honoring requests of this (anonymous) source, too.
The whistle-blower posted under the pseudonym “Bill Unsharpened,” immediately suggesting she or he was a system employee and friend of Dr. Goree who previously used a like pseudonym – “Bill Sharp” – in his career in radio entertainment. That employee is said to have submitted his resignation, under pressure, at the end of last week. I do not know what role he played in this, if any.
How This Began A Week Ago
Activity involving “Bill Sharp” was my entry into this netherworld of our Caddo Parish School Board and top staff. Sunday evening a week ago, an excellent source sent me (and, presumably, others) photographs of a CPSB taxpayer-provided car parked in front of a local restaurant / bar.
We are told, but I have not confirmed, that very few employees are given cars. These are, supposedly, only the employees who might be called out in “emergencies,” though such is not directly defined in related policies. In other words, these cars are another perk for certain favored employees, in some instances. This employee was on Dr. Goree’s “marketing” team.
I forwarded the photos to Dr. Goree and two others in system leadership, asking (a) to whom that car was given, (b) the policy as to weekend / Sunday use, (c) the policy as to a DUI to any such employee, (d) which CPSB officials make determinations about who gets these cars, and (e) accident reports, if any, involving this car.
Some answers to my questions came the following day, along with the related policy statement, but the key answer did not: which top system official gave this man the car. Such lack of accountability has become the system’s brand.
At least one school board member had earlier sought this employee’s termination, but Goree did not act until this final transgression.
Late Friday night, “Bill Unsharpened” appeared on the subject social media page, immediately disgorging charges against the system and its bosses. She or he was identified within the social media site as a Dallas, Texas, resident who was a “businessman at Mansfield, Texas, Independent School System.” Dr. Goree and top administrator and close friend Billy Snow came to the Caddo school system from there.
At 8:23 AM yesterday, I emailed Dr. Goree and CPSB member Larry Ramsey to share with them the fact of the exchanges the night before. I included therein the text of the second of the two posts, below, by the whistle-blower included below. I specifically asked both officials to respond to the accuracy, or not, of those charges. I await their response.
Here is one of the earliest posts of the whistle-blower, at which stage the person was using a faked style of writing, perhaps to further hide his / her identity:
“It’s time for yall to audit the Title I department. Talking about a lotta waste double dipping and dirty stuff. taking care of they friends… why do they have summer camps paid for by grant dollars and most of the kids still have to pay the churches out of the pocket to go to the camps but the churches are using Caddo parish paid teachers through grants and Caddo parish buses and the food is coming from summer feeding programs for the needy so what are the kids parents paying for? and i heard that the church camp sites are all connected to the people school board office– they using the same kids for multiple programs… fraud and deseption —Williams cme, lake bethlehem, praise temple, holly way minitries, refreshed point….investigate they asses..
This struck a chord with those of us aware of other Title I violations, such as a Central Office employee cafeteria paid for with Title I money. Expenditure of these funds is restricted to schools with highest percentages of low-income children. Fraud in Title I is presumed to be a federal matter.
Here is a second early post. I have inserted “Employees 1, 2, 3” in place of employee names. It is this post I have asked Dr. Goree and Mr. Ramsey to confirm or refute:
Its time for yall to ask why is Employee 1 still in an admin role and now the summer school principal for captain Shreve High School? Because his daddy was a former school board member and because he his childhood friends with Goree. Most people don’t know that Employee 1was fired from the Dallas ISD for pawning laptops. (rumor has it) Employee 2 was doing this at midway a few years back but they covered it up– they need to look into that too)…BUT ANY WAY… Employee 1was ALSO fired in DeSoto Parish schoolboard for being involved in a love triangle with a mother (dpsb employee) and daughter (dpsb student). Some real Jerry Springer stuff right there…Why is Employee 1 still on staff anyway… one of the reasons that Goree wanted to fire those administrators at BTW is because they were supposedly changing grades and doing EARLY OUT (or illegal supensions)… it was not said that Employee 1 was the one doing the illegal early outs…if you go back and read the hearing proceedings from Employee 3 at BTW you will see that Employee 1 admitted early outs but nothing was done… what is going on? Why is this allowed? Childhood friends… Y’all need to be out raged… As Elliot Stonecipher would say.. A WHOLE LOT MORE later…
After moving to private messaging, this person’s writing became normal. Here are initial questions and answers. Each of my questions had a specific purpose. My questions are highlighted in blue, with the answers from the whistle-blower in quotes.
1. This is Elliott. Tell me how I can best receive what you want the public to know.
“I would respond from my actual (social media) account, but i have to know that i can trust you … Im probably an unlikely ally … i am young with a lot ahead for me … I have to tow a thin like to keep from further blackballing myself … They already put me into a compromising position and forced me to resign ______ (time period specified) …”
2. I have heard a lot of talk about ______ and ______ (two top system administrators) somehow mistreating ______ (named third party), but it qualifies as little more than a rumor.
“Definitely not a rumor, and its spelled without a ‘K.’ ” (correcting my misspelling of the third party’s name)
What followed is this person’s description of a physical altercation ginned-up in a triangular relationship among two top employees and a third person. The whistle-blower commented in great detail, but was not an eyewitness. While I thus include no specifics, this person’s knowledge – even beyond my detailed knowledge – was impressive.
3. There are many questions I can ask, but I don’t want to do this that way if there is anything of greatest significance that you know we should cover. Some of the issues you raised early in this process will require deep diving, and that is very time-consuming because Goree refuses to follow the Public Records Law. I fully respect that I may be on a wave-length here that is far away from where you want to concentrate.
“Ask away … I don’t intend to show my full hand on this forum as my potential areas of concern being expressed may be premature and allow them to cover-up before the appropriate probe is taken … if that makes sense …”
4. How deep is Goree’s relationship with ministers, and who is the point person in dealing with them?
“The black ministers are not really vested in Goree … to be honest … they feel his plan is severely lacking … the few who speak favorable are those who have after school programs at their churches that make money off the district … many of them have an idea of his ______ and are not sold … that’s one reason the (2014) bond failed.” (The deleted word relates to what I noted in my second paragraph.)
This returns us to my overarching point: this system is, primarily, an engine of political patronage, not education. No public school system can be such a vendor of political patronage and provide quality educations to all children.
… more later …
(Elliott Stonecipher is in no way affiliated with any political party, and has long been a registered “Other,” or Independent. He has no client or other relationships which in any way influence his selections of subjects or the content of any article. His work is strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, please – of his work is appreciated.)