MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The lease agreement between Bibb County Schools and the Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development was upheld today by Judge Edgar Ennis.
According to the ruling, Judge Ennis did not consider if the lease agreement was lawful. Instead, he had to consider the Revenue Bond Act, which makes it nearly impossible to set aside obligations once the bonds issue has been approved.
Judge Ennis sent the ruling down Friday afternoon. The hearing was held on February 1. During the hearing, Ennis listened to testimony and evidence surrounding former Bibb schools CFO Ron Collier's lawsuit.
Collier's lawyer, Jerry Lumley, argued the school board was not aware of the lease agreement between the school district and the Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development, Inc., who owns the old Ballard Hudson Middle School. He also claimed that lease was unconstitutional and was going to be used as a security loan from the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority to CGPICD for building renovations.
The school district's attorney, Ben Mathis, said the lease was valid and Collier's lawsuit could not dispute it. He argued the bond validation process was brought under the Revenue Bond Act and it was followed accordingly.
According to the ruling, "even if the lease agreement is unconstitutional, void, or was obtained fraudulently or by some other malfeasance, Plaintiff is barred from pursuing his claims through the procedural vehicle he has chosen."
Judge Ennis wrote the court will not make a formal decision into Collier's allegations that the lease was entered into unlawfully. He also wants to wait on the outcome of discovery before addressing Collier's whistleblower claims.
41NBC reached out to Lumley and the school district for comment. Our calls were not immediately returned.