Aides to APS superintendent signed immunity agreements in cheating scandal

by: Mark Winne Updated:

ATLANTA - Documents obtained by Channel Two Action News show two women who were high-ranking aides to former Atlanta school superintendent Beverly Hall have signed immunity agreements in the test-cheating scandal.

Hall’s defense had no immediate comment on the documents but continues to adamantly maintain her innocence.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke to an attorney who is an expert on education matters about what the new developments contained in these records could mean.

"I think it’s incredibly big. Ultimately, you have two people who are very close to the superintendent saying that they will testify,” Quinton Washington said.

Documents obtained by Channel 2 Action News indicate Veleter Mazyck, hired by Hall as general counsel for Atlanta Public Schools in 2006, and Sharon Pitts, chief of staff to Hall for nearly a decade, are each the focus of immunity agreements.

“You will be free from prosecution,” Washington said of the meaning of the agreements.

Mazyck, for instance, said Pitts recommended Hall send a corrective letter retracting false statements.

Hall allegedly replied: sending this corrective letter is going to "make me look bad.”

Mazyck’s statement indicates in 2009 she was summoned to Hall's conference room to participate in a meeting concerning an investigation of cheating at Deerwood Academy.

It suggests that looking back, it was clear Hall wanted any report containing implications of cheating there destroyed.

Pitts, who a document says had also served as interim general counsel, may help the Hall defense. She said she does not specifically recall stating it was legally appropriate to shred drafts of reports. She said in her legal opinion, it is appropriate to shred drafts.

Hall maintains her innocence. Washington suggested it could come down to the credibility of the witnesses.