Arlington school trustees voted Thursday to hire a new law firm to collect overdue taxes.
Campaign Fundraising Reports, however, show that the directors have received thousands of dollars in donations from law firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson and lawyers who work for him, raising implications of what could be considered a conflict of interest. ‘interests.
For example, the company gave $ 2,500 to director Melody Fowler, $ 2,000 to director Aaron Reich and $ 1,000 to director Sarah McMurrough this year, according to financial reports.
In 2017, the Austin-based company awarded Chairman of the Board Kecia Mays and Vice Chairman Bowie Hogg each $ 2,500. Several trustees also received contributions from the firm’s lawyers.
The trustees approved the contract 6-0 with Mays out.
Mays did not respond to a request for comment. Several administrators who received donations did not respond to a similar request or asked questions of the district spokesperson.
Under the proposed contract, Linebarger will receive 15% of all overdue taxes, penalties and interest that it collects for the school district. The contract is for a period of three years, with the possibility of extension.
Over the past five years, the district has collected a total of $ 8.3 million in overdue taxes.
In recent years, Linebarger has built a reputation for using tough tactics to extract huge, but legal, penalties from old tickets, back taxes, and other government-related debts.
The company is also known for wooing and making large donations to elected officials statewide, according to a CNN Money Report 2015. In 2014, Dallas City Council refused to renew the company’s contract. At the time, some wondered if Linebarger’s political donations were playing a role in the city’s procurement process.
Earlier this year, Dallas rehired Linebarger to collect its overdue fees, city documents show.
Arlington ISD said it does not have sufficient support staff, software or experience to manage the collections on its own, according to district documents. His contract with another company – Lost Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott – ends this year.
An AISD spokesperson said the district hired an outside consulting firm, Feldman & Feldman, to solicit proposals from collection firms, assess the proposals and make a recommendation. The district last hired the Linebarger company in 2013.
Linebarger has 2,500 clients nationwide and manages $ 10 billion in delinquent accounts for the public sector, according to district documents.