Ruling against EVSC says the corporation violated state laws - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Ruling against EVSC says the corporation violated state laws

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A group of local contractors won a lawsuit on Wednesday against the EVSC.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruling the corporation broke state laws by failing to open a project to public bids.

This has to do with the renovation of the EVSC's main offices on Walnut.

The court says the school corporation funneled public dollars through it's private foundation without ever asking for public bids.

"The public bidding laws are there to protect the public, not the contractors, but the public from fraud, favoritism and corruption," AJ Manion said.

Construction attorney AJ Manion said Wednesday's decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals could have implications across the nation.

"Whenever a public body, in this case the EVSC or any other public body, is spending taxpayer money, public money, they are obligated to follow public laws," Manion said.

But that's what the court said the EVSC failed to do.

In a 2 to 1 decision, the court found the EVSC entered into six separate contracts to "accomplish their goal of renovating the building with public money, yet evading public scrutiny and input."

EVSC attorney Pat Shoulders disagrees.

"The majority of the court of appeals, frankly, got this wrong. The trial court correctly ruled that the six contracts equate to a legal result," Shoulders said.

Shoulders said the decision will have no impact on the already completed project, but Manion said it will set a precedent that could impact future projects.

"They didn't get any competitive bids at all so it might have gone for a fair price. We don't know. We will never know," Manion said.

The project cost more than $6.5 million.

Shoulders says the next step is for the EVSC to decide whether or not to take this case all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court.

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