Palmetto Sunrise: Are Berkeley County legal bills getting too high?


The legal bills keep on piling up for Berkeley County.

The Berkeley County School District has spent at least $407,137 in taxpayer money for legal fees connected to the ongoing Yes 4 Schools investigation, Brenda Rindge reported for the Post and Courier.

The dispute is whether the school system should be using taxpayer money to defend Amy Kovach, who has been accused of using public funds to influence the outcome of an election.

According to a response to the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act request from The Post and Courier, through Dec. 31 the district has paid, in connection with the investigation:

-$176,311 to Communications Director Amy Kovach in reimbursement for lawyer Jerry Theos;

-$91,202 to Deputy Superintendent Archie Franchini in reimbursement for lawyer Deborah Barbier;

-$5,175 to Columbia-based Milling Law Firm to serve as witness counsel;

-$134,449 to district lawyers Childs & Halligan.

Board members are concerned but it’s unclear whether they plan to reverse course. Kovach has been on paid leave from her $79,995-a-year job since she was indicted on Feb. 11.

Board member Mac McQuillin plans to push the issue at a board meeting in February. “Obviously that amount of fees concerns me,” said McQuillin. “I believe our public education funds are best spent in our schools for our teachers and students.”

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