Columbus Schools Face Lawsuit Over Planned Renovation Project


UPDATED: Monday September 17, 2012 6:26 PM

Columbus City Schools is facing a $41 million lawsuit over its renovation project at Indianola Middle School.

Watchdog 10 obtained a copy of the 19-page lawsuit that was filed late last week.

Among other items, it includes claims that one district executive made a racial comment.

The fight is over a $26 million project at Indianola Middle School.

The district terminated the architect. Now, he and his firm are suing the district, Superintendent Gene Harris, and other top school officials.

In the lawsuit, Machisa Designs Services, Inc. and owner Anthony Udeagbala accuse district officials of violating federal laws, among other things.

It also accuses a senior district official of making a racially-motivated comment, and it claims the official said the architect was "not the right person" for the project.

The lawsuit stated that the official commented that the architect spoke with a non-American accent.

In a statement released to Watchdog 10, Columbus school district officials denied the claims.

"The district believes the lawsuit is totally without merit, and will vigorously defend against it," said the statement.

The district is now considering dumping the Indianola Middle school plan that would have put two schools under one roof.

That could cost taxpayers at least $1 million in design costs.

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