Adams 14’s Board of Education has filed suit against the management company overseeing the school district, seeking documents related to an investigation by MGT Consulting into a “personnel matter” that the board says was unauthorized and occurred as it was conducting its own financial audit.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Jan. 5, states that the school board asked for the records via the state’s public records law – known as the Colorado Open Records Act, or CORA — on Dec. 6, 2021. But so far, MGT Consulting has not handed over the documents, according to the lawsuit.
“MGT has failed to turn over documents to the district that the district is entitled to,” said Joe Salazar, an attorney representing the school board, adding, “Our biggest concern is that the investigation was not authorized by the Board of Education of Adams 14. We’re trying to figure out how it got started, what purpose and who authorized it.”
MGT Consulting took over after the Colorado State Board of Education in 2018 ordered Adams 14 to hand over control to a manager. The school district, based in Commerce City, has more than 30,000 students.
In the lawsuit, the school board alleges that the investigation by MGT Consulting began before a forensic audit into spending was completed and that an attorney hired by MGT Consulting “infiltrated” the district, accessed confidential information, interviewed employees and asked questions about the audit.
Employees who received emails related to the investigation were told “not to discuss the allegations of the investigation with any district employee or member of the board,” according to the lawsuit.
The financial audit, which has not been made public, took place after the school board became concerned last year that the company was getting the district to pay subcontractors to do work the firm was already paid to do.
A representative for MGT Consulting could not immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
But the company said last month that an attorney was investigating concerns that “central office administrators coerced a subordinate to lie if interviewed for the forensic audit,” reported Chalkbeat Colorado.
The financial audit was given to the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which serves Adams and Broomfield counties, sometime after it was completed in late 2021.
“Our office was recently contacted by a representative of the Adams 14 school board,” said spokesman Chris Hopper in a statement. “He asked us to review some documentation that he provided to us … We are in the process of doing so to see if there is any additional action that needs to be taken.”
A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Jan. 21.
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