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CSD’s insurer pays $275k to settle claims made by former HR director against former superintendent

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CSD’s insurer pays $275k to settle claims made by former HR director against former superintendent

FILE PHOTO FROM 2016: City Schools of Decatur Superintendent Dr. David Dude (center) listens to people speak during a rally across from Decatur High School. Photo: Jonathan Phillips

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur’s insurance company coughed up a second hefty settlement to resolve a federal lawsuit filed by a former employee, according to a record released by the district.

The district recently settled a federal lawsuit filed by David Adams, the district’s former human resources director. According to the settlement agreement provided by the district on Jan. 31, the district’s insurer agreed to pay $275,000 to Adams, $100,000 of which will go to his attorney’s firm. Adams was represented by Anita Bala.

“The lawsuit filed by David Adams against the School District and Dr. David Dude has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties,” the school district said. “The allegations were never ruled upon, but the insurance company for the School District made a business decision to settle all the claims to save the time, trouble and expense of proceeding with the litigation. The insurance company has paid the settlement amount.”

Adams’ lawsuit led to a series of investigative articles by Decaturish published before former superintendent David Dude left the district.

Adams sued the district on Jan. 19, 2021. Adams alleges that Dude’s public statement about his departure from the district hampered his ability to find work and breached a non-disparagement clause of his severance agreement with City Schools of Decatur. He alleges a central office shakeup in December 2019 occurred because the school’s finance director expressed concerns that Dude took more vacations than his contract allowed.

Decaturish investigated these claims and found evidence to substantiate them. The School Board launched its own independent investigation of the claims, but declined to release the results, saying only the investigator found no evidence of criminal conduct. Following our investigative reporting, and the school district’s investigation, the Decatur School Board announced on April 27, 2021, that it was parting ways with Dude.

Last month, the district revealed the terms of a settlement with Cheryl Nahmias, formerly a Decatur High Instructional Coach/International Baccalaureate Coordinator. She’s the mother of a Decatur High student who was filmed making racist comments. In her federal lawsuit against the district, she alleged racial discrimination and retaliation by the school district over the incident involving her son. She was demoted and reassigned to a job within CSD’s central office. She claimed the demotion was the culmination of a months’ long campaign of retaliation against her for sticking up for her son’s rights and for years of whistleblowing activities within the district.

As part of the settlement agreement, she resigned and the district’s insurer paid her $350,000. Bala’s firm, which also represented Nahmias, will get $140,000.

All told, the district’s insurer paid $625,000 to settle the claims against the district and Dude.

Data provided by the state of Georgia shows that in Fiscal Year 2021, Dude was one of the highest-paid superintendents in the state. That year, Dude received $411,554.35 in compensation. He made more money that year than the superintendents of Atlanta, Fulton County and DeKalb County Public Schools. Decaturish has asked the school district for additional information about Dude’s compensation in Fiscal Year 2021.

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