Embattled superintendent issues statement amidst SBI probe - | WBTV Charlotte

Embattled superintendent issues statement amidst SBI probe

Dr. Mary Ellis (Source: Union County Public Schools) Dr. Mary Ellis (Source: Union County Public Schools)
MONROE, NC (WBTV) -

The superintendent of Union County Public Schools issued a statement in response to allegations she has a conflict of interest involving millions of dollars in school contracts with a computer company.

Questions surfaced earlier this month about two companies owned by Dr. Mary Ellis, two other senior school administrators and a sales executive with the computer company Lenovo.

The companies—Educatrx Inc and MWeb LLC—were formed in the spring and summer of 2014, respectively. Since then, the Union County Public Schools’ Board of Education approved a contract to purchase 10,000 additional computers from Lenovo in March 2015 and approved a property transfer estimated at being worth $110,000 from UCPS to Lenovo.

Late last week, a criminal complaint was filed with the Union County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff is expected to turn the inquiry into the matter over to the State Bureau of Investigation.
 
On Tuesday, a schools spokeswoman issued the following statement on behalf of Ellis:
 

"I believe all of my actions have been proper and that the investigations underway by the Board of Education and the SBI will corroborate this.  I will cooperate with those investigations.  In the meantime, I will commit my efforts to leading Union County Schools.”
 

In an exclusive interview with On Your Side Investigates, Ellis declined to detail what, if anything, the companies did.
 
The attorney for Dr. Mike Webb, an assistant superintendent who is also a managing partner of the businesses, said late last week that his client would be cleared of any wrongdoing during the investigation.
 
"I've had a chance to review the documents and understand the facts that are in this case and at this point I do not see a single issue to cause the public any concern," said John Snyder, Webb’s attorney and the former elected district attorney in Union County. "There is nothing to [these accusations] other than people trying to score points needlessly.”

Snyder wouldn't elaborate on the nature of the businesses but a release from the Union County Sheriff's Office said the firms provide technology consulting services.

"I can't discuss that at this time but when that is appropriate, everyone will say 'what is the big deal'?" Snyder said of the nature of the businesses.
 
Also late last week, a spokeswoman for Lenovo said the company was investigating the matter but declined to elaborate.

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