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Heery Settles with DeKalb for $7.5M

, Daily Report

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Construction management company Heery International announced Tuesday that it has settled a six-year-old lawsuit with the DeKalb County Board of Education for $7.5 million.

Heery and the school district have been embroiled in litigation over canceled school construction contracts since 2007. Heery contended the school district owed it $478,000 in unpaid invoices after the school board fired Heery for alleged mismanagement of construction projects. The school district countersued, alleging breaches of contract and racketeering, and claimed it was owed as much as $100 million in damages.

Neither side admitted fault in the settlement reached Nov. 25.

Previous mediation attempts between Heery and the school district failed. Heery also offered to settle at least two other times earlier this year, including a proposal in which Heery would give the district $1 million if the school district would drop its claims. The school district’s legal team at King & Spalding rejected the offers, calling the $1 million offer “meaningless.”

A statement released Tuesday by Heery said the company will “contribute $7.5 million to the DeKalb County School District to support the education needs of the county’s school children.”

Heery President Rich Driggs indicated that the decision to settle was motivated by finance.

“Today’s settlement of $7.5 million is significantly less than the cost of bringing this suit to trial,” Driggs said in a written statement.

A spokesman for King & Spalding said the firm had no comment on the settlement.

The school district gave a statement via spokesman Quinn Hudson: “We will no longer speculate with public money,” the district said. “We believe this is a reasonable settlement that will allow us to continue with the education of the students in DeKalb County.”

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