Investigators subpoena school board emails - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Investigators subpoena school board emails

FBI investigators are demanding more information about what went on at Memphis City Schools.  As part of their investigation, federal investigators are now asking for emails sent between city school board members and the former superintendent, Dr. Carol Johnson.

In their request, investigators did not say exactly why they want those e-mails, but their comes on the heels of another school-related indictment.  Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson was indicted in mid-November.

Then, federal investigators said Thompson used his position to influence the Memphis City Schools Board to award a building contract to H and M Construction Company.

Now, investigators are still snooping.  Since Thompson's indictment, the FBI has sent a letter to Memphis City Schools requesting e-mails dated January 1st 2004 through December 31st 2005.

Agents want every e-mail between school board members and eight different current and former city school officials, including former Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson.

Phone calls to her new office in Boston were not returned Thursday.

Another name on the list is LaVon Alston.  He was city schools chief operating officer and chairman of a selection committee that recommended H and M construction.

By phone, Alston told said he doesn't know why the FBI would ask for his e-mails.

"The process that we used was above board, straight-forward, and well-documented," he said.

But federal investigators took the request a step further, asking for "all e-mails between Memphis City Schools Board members" during the same two-year period.

School Board member Kenneth Whalum, Junior didn't take office until 2006.

"I'm glad we're getting to the bottom of it," he said Thursday.

Whalum said he hopes the FBI digs deep, and changes a climate he says is in need of change.

"It's ridiculous man," he said. "The children are the ones who are suffering, and those are the ones I'm glad for."

The FBI is after more than just those e-mails, also issuing subpoenas for the rest of the request for proposal documents, capital improvement program meeting minutes, and three different school board meeting minutes as well.

Stay with Action News 5 as the investigation continues.


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