|Lafayette Parish School Board member Greg Awbrey|
The Lafayette Parish School Board, in an uncharacteristically short and drama-free meeting, decided against caving to insurance consultant Rina Tikia’s demand for $200,000.
Within 15 minutes, the board — sans Tehmi Chassion who showed up after the meeting ended — decided unanimously to let the courts decide if Tikia is owed $200,000 by the school system.
“If we pay every demand that comes our way without someone proving their case, we’ll have a stack of these cases,” board member Greg Awbrey said.
The board’s legal counselor, Assistant District Attorney Roger Hamilton, agreed that for Tikia to have a chance at getting any money from the school system, she’ll have to file suit and let the court decide.
With no contract and an RFP that states the school system can withdraw from the consulting agreement at any time without penalty, it will likely prove an uphill battle for Tikia, according to attorney Gary McGoffin.
“There’s no basis for a claim here,” says McGoffin. “To pay this woman any money would be an egregious mistake.”
Former school board member/former state Rep. Rickey Hardy attempted to spark discussion among the board on Tikia’s alleged attempt to bribe at least two board members with New Orleans Saints tickets. Board President Hunter Beasley, however, wouldn’t have it, telling Hardy, “We’re not getting into allegations being put out into the media. That is something totally different.”
“It is relevant,” Hardy countered, though the topic garnered no further discussion.
One noticeable addition to Thursday's meeting was the presence of a uniformed police officer in the board room — a response to last week's incident in which board member Chassion called the police on Superintendent Pat Cooper, alleging simple battery because Cooper touched his arm.
It wasn't Chassion's first time calling law enforcement with claims that he'd been accosted at a board meeting.
Chassion told The Daily Advertiser he was late for the meeting because of a Black History Month event at his daughter's school, Paul Breaux Middle.