Across Georgia

School official's firings let husband get work


ATLANTA - DeKalb County school official Pat Pope dismissed two architecture firms working on separate multimillion-dollar construction projects and altered the projects in a way that allowed her architect husband to work on them, a newspaper reports.

Documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show one architectural firm completed about two-thirds of its work and the other finished about a fourth. The DeKalb County school system paid $660,000 to the architects for their work on the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Center south of Decatur and the Mountain Industrial Center near Tucker, according to contracts and financial records.

Pope's estranged husband, Anthony "Tony" Pope, will earn at least $1.2 million on the projects, the newspaper reported.

Pat Pope's attorney, Manny Arora, said in an e-mail that the decisions she made benefited the county.

"The projects she has worked on have finished under budget and on time," he said.

She has been reassigned from her position as the school district's chief operating officer. The newspaper reported that the projects are two of eight under investigation by the DeKalb County district attorney's office.

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