In a motion filed on Tuesday, the American Arbitration Association ended arbitration between former Bibb Superintendent Romain Dallemand and the Bibb County Board of Education.
In January 2015, Dallemand claimed the district breached his contract, and that’s why the two were in arbitration to solve the dispute, instead of the court system.
The cost of arbitration is split between both Bibb Schools and Dallemand.
The Bibb County school board and Dallemand each accused the other of fraud and demanding millions of dollars in damages.
This came two years after Dallemand left in February 2013.
A February 2014 audit showed the former superintendent improperly approved more than $50 million in contracts. In his arbitration filing, Dallemand called those audit findings "specious, false and fictive."
In a document filed in February 2015, the Bibb County Board of Education and district were seeking Dallemand's severance of $350,000, his pension, legal fees and funds for purchases made without the board's approval.
In counter claims the board was asking Dallemand to personally repay around $7 million in payments wired to two companies. The school board claimed the payments were not authorized and the district can't use many of the items purchased.
In December 2016, Dallemand had not paid his portion of the costs, while Bibb had paid theirs in full. On December 8th, the association asked Bibb to decide if they were willing to cover the remaining expected costs and they declined. The arbitration panel then notified Dallemand if the money for his portion of costs was not paid by Feb. 18, 2017, “these arbitration hearings shall automatically terminate without further notices or order.”
Dallemand didn’t pay, according to board member Lester Miller, and the proceedings were terminated on February 18tth, according to the motion.
When contacted about the dismissal, Miller said “I am very excited about the arbitration being dismissed and this is a big win for students and stakeholders in Bibb County.”
The motion says “termination of this proceeding is administrative only and without prejudice. It does not constitute a decision on the merits as to any claim or defense.”
According to Miller, if Dallemand chooses to refile he will like have to pay $10,000 to start arbitration over again.
Back in December, the Bibb Board of Education filed a separate lawsuit against Dallemand seeking $7 millIon.
The district claims Dallemand conspired with assistants and vendors to defraud them of more than $7 million. They say that includes paying $3.7 million for 15,000 computers that were unusable and not compatible with their software. Their lawsuit also says Dallemand paid $3.2 million for various software systems. The district received a single server, which was blank, they claim. The school lawsuit says Dallemand and others violated school procedures and bidding laws and deceived other school officials about what he was doing. The district also claims he promoted an atmosphere of "fear and intimidation," where employees feared that they would lose their jobs if they didn't follow his orders.
In their lawsuit, Bibb Schools is seeking a jury trial for Dallemand and other defendants.
“I’m looking forward to the jury trial in federal court where the citizens in Bibb County will see the truth unfold,” Miller said.
When asked about possible criminal charges for Dallemand, Miller said he was prohibited from commenting further.