• APS Cheating Probe Costing Nearly $2 Million

    Updated:
    ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned that the governor's special investigators spent the day interviewing Atlanta school superintendent Beverly Hall.

    Hall did her best to avoid investigative reporter Richard Belcher when a Channel 2 camera arrived as she was awaiting her interview.

    Belcher said the state's investigation is in its final stages. Eight months and nearly $1.8 million into the investigation, the state team turned its focus Wednesday to the biggest name of all -- Hall.

    Not so long ago, Hall was better known as the national school superintendent of the year.

    The CRCT investigation is centered in a downtown office building that houses the law firm where former Attorney General Mike Bowers is a partner.

    Hall was waiting on her own lawyer when she spotted Channel 2 and quickly got up and walked out of camera range. She appeared to be dialing her cell phone.

    Hall stood behind a column for a few seconds and mostly blocked the camera's view.

    Then, a security guard helped her across the lobby and into a room where she was out of sight.

    Moments later, she was joined by her attorney, former federal prosecutor Richard Deane.

    Richard Hyde, one of the governor's three investigators, along with Bowers and former DeKalb District Attorney Bob Wilson are investigating cheating on standardized tests in 58 Atlanta schools.

    Bowers revealed the scale of the investigation during a hearing in which one principal tried to avoid testifying.

    "No, we don't have a court reporter. The cost would be prohibitive. We've done 1,600 interviews as of right now," said Bowers.

    Belcher confirmed that the cost of the state investigation is nearing $2 million. As of May 1, the two law firms involved had bills that totaled $1,299,683. The GBI told Belcher that travel and overtime for agents assisting with the investigation total $467,035.

    Hall is likely the last major witness to be interviewed, Belcher said.

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