Friday, August 20, 2021
The Richland 2 School District updated this morning's announcement about trotting off to the State Supreme Court.
“With a great sense of urgency Richland Two put into action the desire of the Richland Two Board of Trustees to seek legal relief from Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108 in order to protect our students and employees. There is truly nothing more important to the Board than the safety and welfare of those whom we are entrusted to serve as the elected leaders of our Premier school district. We are hopeful that the S.C. Supreme Court will provide us with the ability to fulfill our highest priority to our community. Our district is extremely appreciative of the pro-bono services provided by The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams.”
Teresa Holmes has no authority to issue such a statement, unless the board has approved it. Did they board hold another Special Meeting this week to authorize that statement. (Hint: the answer is No.)
Holmes is one of seven members of the board. Being the (illegitimate) board chair does not make her Queen. She obviously did not write that statement. The statement would have been crafted and approved by the legal beagles for the District. A lot of heads were quite likely involved in getting each word just right.
How do I know this? I watched the executives and Legal Department of a Fortune 50 corporation try to get things right before publishing a statement. Many drafts went back and forth, before the CEO ever opened his mouth.
Last Monday evening there was no "great sense of urgency". The Board was just asleep at the switch; at least, during the public part of the meeting. What did they do in secret?
Did Holmes just violate the confidentiality of the Executive Session held on August 16, 2021? Remember when Trustee Agostini tried to find out more about the motion that Manning had made? Remember when Holmes said that they couldn't talk about what was discussed in executive session. And here she is - talking about it!!!
Out of what corner did The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams crawl? Have they ever done any work for Richland 2?
When did the board authorize that legal work? (It didn't.) The Board authorized the District (i.e., the supt.) to gather information and to confer with the Richland County Council. How amazing that all that got done in three days.
Did the Board (or certain members thereof) violate Board Policy DBG Board/ Attorney/Legal Services? Hiring or retaining an attorney is a board decision, by majority vote.
Why did the District pick personal-injury lawyers for this work? Look at the websites:
Solomon Law Group: https://solomonlawsc.com/
Williams and Williams: https://williamsattys.com/
Usually, it's a good idea to go for expertise. Do they have it? The board is supposed to pick the lawyers, not the superintendent or the chair or even the attorney that handles most of the District's legal work.
After the District issued a press release this morning that two law firms will represent it in filing a legal action with the S.C. Supreme Court, I reviewed the end of the August 16, 2021 Special-Called Board Meeting.
You will find it at www.livestream.com/richland2 Click on it, then choose the video in the right panel that indicates a length of 53:56. Then fast-forward past the blank (silent) portion to hear the confrontation between Lindsay Agostini and Teresa Holmes.
The public portion of the meeting resumes at 48:08 and Trustee Manning made a motion, saying; "I make a motion that the board authorizes the District to engage legal counsel to provide best option and legal strategy to address appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108, including consulting with Richland County Council with regards [sic] to protecting the health, safety and well-being of our students and employees." McKie seconded the motion.
Holmes "forgot" that Agostini wanted to rejoin the public portion of the meeting. I think she was having a Biden Moment.
Keep in mind that Holmes is not a legitimate board member and is not the legitimate chair. Holmes has NEVER taken the oath of office legally! She is usurping public office, and no one is doing anything about it.
When the board was ready to discuss the Motion, Trustee McFadden brought up that Agostini had not yet rejoined the meeting. THANK YOU, LASHONDA!!! (Of course, long-time board members Caution-Parker, Manning, Scott or McKie could have been awake enough to alert Holmes; even Supt. Davis should have been on top of that - he is there to keep her chair on the rails.)
Agostini rejoined the meetng and asked what the legal advice was that the board was seeking from the attorney for the district. That attorney is Kathryn Mahoney.
In a tone designed to shut down discussion (listen at 51:00), Holmes repeatedly said that "that" was discussed in executive session and she could not tell the public. Listen for yourself to the tone of voice used byHolmes toward Agostini.
Holmes was flat-out wrong. Certainly, the scope of legal advice being sought, and even the expense (number of hours of legal time authorized), could have been discussed. That's what Agostini was asking to be disclosed to the public.
Agostini is THE ONLY board member sticking up for the public. Why didn't any of the others support her?
And then Holmes says, "Do we need to re-vote?" They hadn't voted! Where is her brain? How is it that Holmes cannot even keep track of the simple process of Motion, Second, Discuss, Vote?
The vote was 6-0 on the motion.
Two unknown law firm are named in the press release. Who picked the law firms of Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams? How did they come out of the woodwork for Richland 2 business? Did Attorney Mahoney recommend them? How did they get to work so quickly and file today in the S.C.Supreme Court. And who consulted with the Richland County Council?
The board is supposed to choose where legal work goes. The board is supposed to authorize legal action.
And you've gotta love the last line in the press release: "The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams are assisting Richland Two with this life-saving legal action pro-bono." [emphasis added]
Of course, the two law firms are NOT "assisting" Richland Two. They are "representing" Richland Two. Why would they do that pro bono?
August 20, 2021
RICHLAND TWO PETITIONS SOUTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT
FOR AN ACTION FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
COLUMBIA, S.C. — On August 20, 2021, Carl L. Solomon, Esq., with the Solomon Law Group, and Skyler B. Hutto, Esq., with Williams & Williams, Attorneys at Law, filed a Petition for Original Jurisdiction, Expedited Disposition, and Emergency Declaration, and Motion for a Temporary Injunction with the South Carolina Supreme Court regarding Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108 (SDE: Mask Mandate Prohibition) on behalf of Richland School District Two.
The motion requests the South Carolina Supreme Court to issue a temporary injunction to Respondents named in the motion directing them not to enforce the challenged portions of the Appropriations Act of 2021-22 until a final order is issued concerning the constitutionality of the mask mandate prohibition.
Richland Two leaders pursued this action following a special called board meeting on Monday, August 16, 2021, during which the Richland Two Board of Trustees authorized the district to engage legal counsel to provide the best option and legal strategy to address Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108 with regard to protecting the health, safety and well-being of the district’s students and employees.
Dr. Baron R. Davis, superintendent, said, “We are hopeful that the S.C. Supreme Court will grant our request for declaratory and injunctive relief, enabling our district to fulfill our most important obligation to our families — providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students. The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees, Superintendent and district leaders remain steadfast in our commitment to doing all we can to keep our students and employees safe and our schools open so that our students can receive the highest quality education from face-to-face instruction. We believe masks keep our students and employees safe by reducing the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and S.C. DHEC continue to identify this as a critical strategy in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams are assisting Richland Two with this life-saving legal action pro-bono.
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