Friday, February 20, 2015

Really? Copyright Complaint Filed Over Sunshine Requested Legal Bills Report Posted for the Public!

Yesterday morning I received an email informing me that the 2004-2010 Fox C-6 Legal Bills report that I posted in my previous article had been removed by my document hosting provider due to a copyright infringement complaint that someone filed.

Wow! That should have Fox C-6 taxpayers scratching their heads wondering who would have filed such a complaint and also wondering how a report listing of legal bills and corresponding check payments to a law firm is considered copyrighted material and can't be posted for the public to review.

Who filed the complaint is currently being investigated after I responded to the complaint. I'll post an update when I find out who filed the complaint.

Most importantly, why would someone file a copyright infringement complaint and request that a document be taken down when legal bill payments are published in our board meeting packets each month and are posted on the district website for the public to review?

It should be noted that the bills prior to May 2010 had never been posted on the district website. I had to make formal requests numerous times over the years in order to obtain them. They were just made available to me on February 3, 2015 for the first time.

It should also be noted that there weren't any notices on the legal bills listing report stating that the material was copyrighted by the school district or anyone else for that matter.

I've dealt with copyright law since the early 1980's when I first started writing software in order to protect my work when writing software applications. For someone to file a copyright infringement complaint for a report created by our school district's CFO in response to a Sunshine Request for legal bills gives the impression that someone doesn't want the public to know the details as to how much taxpayer money has been spent in legal fees by our school district in an easy to read report.

I contacted the hosting service about the document that's been temporarily removed from my account per their email. I asked that the document be restored and asking who filed the copyright infringement complaint.

It will be interesting to see who filed the complaint and their reason for asking for the document to be removed.

The document in question was referenced in the article I wrote last week which can be viewed using the link below:

It's probably not a surprise that someone doesn't want the public to know how much has been spent in legal fees by our district considering how many years I've tried to get copies of the invoices for those legal fees. I still haven't been provided a single copy of an actual invoice via my Sunshine Law requests.

It makes things even more intriguing for everyone as to why the legal bills are such a big secret and have been kept from the public. You would certainly hope that our school board members are reviewing the invoices each month when they approve the bill payments.

I certainly hope our school board members reviewed the bills prior to approving the bill payments at the August and September 2012 board meetings that totaled more than $103,000 for just those two months of bill payments. That's a lot of money just for legal fees in just two months. However, that's also the same time period that I was sent a cease and desist letter by the school district's former legal counsel informing me that the district may take legal action against me if I didn't stop speaking to the public and to former and current school administrators about ongoing issues in our district.

It certainly makes you wonder what's up with all of those legal fees.

Camdenton School District Similarities
Everyone should read about the issues that have been occurring in the Camdenton School Districtthat are very similar to what's been occurring in our school district for years by clicking on the link below. The superintendent and law firm in Camdenton appear to use the same tactics as those of Fox's former superintendent and former law firm.

Greeville School District Similarities
You'll find another story from the Greenville School District that follows the same pattern of bullying by their school superintendent when he had a cease and desist letter sent to a patron in their district who was critical of the superintendent's ethics in the hiring of an unnamed employee. An October 2013 news article in the Southeast Missourian documents what occurred. Sending out cease and desist letters appears to be a pattern of practice used time after time to silence critics of wrongdoing in their school district. Below is a link to that article.

The Greenville story is very similar to what happened here at Fox when cease and desist letters were sent to myself and others by the same law firm of Mickes Goldman O'Toole. I received a cease and desist letter in August 2012 after posting articles on this blog and emailing friends regarding my concerns about former Fox superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow's salary and my concerns about how the the 2012 bond issue money was going to be used.

Three other Fox C-6 patrons who were critical of the district were sent cease and desist letters in February 2013. They were critical about the hiring of former Fox C-6 board president Linda Nash's daughter in-law as the Food Service Director since she didn't have the credentials the district required for the position as well as being critical of Fox's former superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow.

December 2010 Board Meeting Public Comments
At the December 2010 Fox C-6 Board of Education meeting, I questioned Fox board members about Jamie Critchlow's credentials and who approved his salary amount when he was hired and promoted to the Director of the Bridges program in November 2009. If you recall, Jamie Critchlow was fired from that position in June 2014 after derogatory comments directed at myself and others were posted in an online forum were traced to the home of former Fox C-6 superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow and Jamie Critchlow.

Jamie Critchlow was originally hired by Fox C-6 as an assistant football coach and a Behavior Intervention Support Teacher (BIST) in September 2009. After just two months as a BIST teacher Mr. Critchlow was promoted to the Director of the Bridges program. Mr. Critchlow had a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2009 and had not taken the School Leadership Licensure Assessment test. I had been told by retired teachers that Mr. Critchlow's degree was in Ceramics. That's why I questioned his credentials at the December 2010 BOE meeting.

Jamie Critchlow's starting salary as a BIST teacher was roughly $36,000 per year. His starting salary as the Director of Bridges was more than $98,000 per year according to MO DESE's records. Jamie Critchlow's salary was $124,079 when he was fired by Fox C-6 in June 2014.

Former Fox C-6 board member Cheryl Hermann was board president when I spoke to the board at the December 2010 board meeting. She told me at the December 2010 meeting that I needed to call Central Office to get my questions answered. You can listen to my public comments at that meeting by clicking on the link below.

Mr. Critchlow's quick promotion was a concern among teachers and staff in the district that were aware of the "rumors" in the district. The "rumors" were put to rest when former superintendent Dianne Brown and Jamie Critchlow both divorced their spouses and married in early 2012. It also explained the harsh email I received from Dianne Brown in May 2011 after I emailed then board president Ruth Ann Newman still trying to get answers to my questions from the December 2010 school board meeting. You can read the article I previously wrote about Dianne Brown's May 2011 email response by clicking on the link below.

It's amazing how long it took for the community to become aware of the problems in our school district. It's also no wonder harsh comments were traced back to the home of former superintendent Dianne Brown-Critchlow and to the home of assistant superintendent (now serving as Seckman Elementary principal) Dan Baker and his wife Angie Burns Baker.

It should be noted that there were harsh comments posted about me on Topix right after I spoke at the December 14, 2010 board meeting. Who could have made those comments when only 7 people attended that board meeting that night besides the board members and Central Office administrators?

St. Joseph School District Rated "Poor" in State Audit
Everyone in the Fox C-6 School District should also read the recent State Auditor's report that was released this week about the St. Joseph School District. It should be an eye opening report for the taxpayers of our school district and our school board members as to how in depth a state audit can be. There is a link to the St. Joseph School District state audit report below. The state audit report gave the St. Joseph School District a rating of "poor". Poor is the lowest rating given out by the state auditor's office.

Every Fox C-6 taxpayer needs to read the St. Joseph School District State Audit Report.

Fox C-6 is currently undergoing a state audit. It will be interesting to see how much more is uncovered when Fox's state audit is released hopefully later this year. Some of Fox's Central Office administrators made a lot of questionable purchases using their district supplied credit cards prior to having them taken away last summer.

Below are some of the news articles covering the recent state audit report released to the public by Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich of the St. Joseph School District.

I highly recommend reading the comments posted to the articles below as well. One of the articles mentioned that teachers attending the meeting were afraid to speak about the audit for fear of retribution from administration.