School Board Chairman John Dick is telling anyone who will listen that the recent audit of the HOB construction project absolves Coastal Construction Co., Inc. of any wrongdoing, that in effect it is a clean audit that will please everyone. Of course, since the results of the audit have not been made public, there is no way to determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of Dick’s statements regarding the innocence of the contractor.
You will pardon me if I am a little suspicious. As part of the settlement between the School District and Coastal, the contractor is giving the District $50,000. I doubt very much that Coastal, when it files its tax return, will itemize that sum as a charitable contribution, especially since $40,000 is intended to reimburse the District for legal bills. That being the case, you have to ask yourself: “Why the $50,000 payoff?” As an obvious business expense, you have to wonder, what did Coastal receive in exchange–absolution, perhaps?
Now that the School District has agreed to cease litigation against Coastal, the contractor in turn has agreed to permit the District to view any and all documents that it had previously withheld, to the detriment of the District and its auditors. Unfortunately, if a review of these documents, something that the School Board appears disinclined to do, reveals misdeeds by the contractor, there will be no way to hold Coastal liable.
Looks to me like Coastal paid the School District $50,000 to go away and John Dick cannot lead the charge too quickly.