Originally created 02/22/06

Larke claims questions on contract are spiteful



Questions about his contract are motivated by spite, Richmond County schools Superintendent Charles Larke said Tuesday in a television interview

Dr. Larke said during the interview with WJBF TV that Super District 9 board member A.K. Hasan handed him a list of names during a Jan. 4 meeting and has since begun questioning the legality of the superintendent's contract because he didn't take action to give jobs to those on the list.

Mr. Hasan, responding to the interview, told The Augusta Chronicle that he gave Dr. Larke the list. He called it a "common practice in the political arena," and said it was presented during a conversation about a number of issues, including the superintendent's contract. The list included names of people who helped Mr. Hasan get elected in December, he said, but didn't include friends or family members.

Mr. Hasan said he asked Dr. Larke to have an audience with those on the list, but never linked the list to talk of the superintendent's contract.

"I've never found anything illegal or unethical about that," Mr. Hasan said. "Obviously, he's feeling the pressure to reinvent the situation."

Mr. Hasan began publicly questioning the legality of Dr. Larke's contract last week. Since then, he said he has received more calls from constituents than since taking office in January, and most of those calls support him.

The superintendent isn't accustomed to dealing with "mavericks" such as himself who aren't subject to the will of influential black politicians or controlled by anyone, Mr. Hasan said.

"If he thought I was blackmailing him, why didn't he say something before?" Mr. Hasan asked.

Dr. Larke said Tuesday evening that he won't comment on the issue anymore until he receives an opinion on the legality of his contract from the Georgia School Boards Association.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.