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County revisits perjury review

By Staff
Might have expert examine testimony in funding dispute
By NIKIE MAYO
News Editor
Beaufort County commissioners again considered hiring an expert to look for perjurious testimony in the funding dispute between the county and the schools, but may wait for the outcome of the appeals case.
In July 2006, the Beaufort County Board of Education sued the county for $2.9 million, contending those additional funds were needed to adequately operate the schools for the 2006-2007 term. A Beaufort County jury awarded the schools $765,783, bringing their county allotment to $10.2 million instead of the first-appropriated $9.4 million for that school year. The county sought a second opinion on that decision, and its case was heard by an appellate court in Raleigh last month. No verdict on the appeal has been issued; that may take two more months.
But fellow Commissioner Hood Richardson said that looming verdict is exactly the reason the county should not wait to have the testimony reviewed. He suggested putting aside $3,000 to hire someone to study the 2006 trial transcripts.
Commissioners’ Chairman Jay McRoy said he might be comfortable with having someone to review the testimony — later.
Richardson and Deatherage charged that the school system was “sitting on” $1 million during the funding dispute. An audit of the school system found $1 million in a food fund.
McRoy agreed that he could see a reason to pursue the perjury charge.
Deatherage also asked for “an accounting” of attorneys’ fees related to the lawsuit. McRoy estimated that the bill for all the lawyers involved topped $250,000, but no firm number was available Wednesday night.