Calls for ouster of Chamber President in cheating scandal

7:13 PM, Jul 20, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and its President Sam Willams are under fire from a State Senator and the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation for their possible role in the Atlanta public school cheating scandal.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Atlanta Public Schools CRCT Cheating Investigation

Speaking Wednesday on the possible Chamber of Commerce involvement in the CRCT cheating scandal, Ga. State Senator Vincent Fort,(D-Fulton Co.) said:

"Mr. Williams and his staff decided that it was best to spin the situation. Not to be honest with it--not to be open with it--not to be direct, but to protect Beverly Hall. Protect the cheaters; protect people who were doing the wrong things."

Wasting no words, Fort called on Sam Williams, Chamber President, to resign.  "I think the Chamber of Commerce has a direct culpability in this situation and, therefore, I am calling on Sam Williams to step down."

Fort did not go into detail about the accusations.  He is not alone in questioning the Chamber and its President.

In an email to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, John Sherman, the head of the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation, said if Williams did not step down he would seek an inquiry into the role of the business community in the cheating scandal.

He questioned an investigation by a so-called Blue Ribbon Commission--made up of Atlanta business leaders into the cheating scandal.

Citing the Commission, the Governor's Investigative Team said in the "Business Community" section of its 3 Volume Report:

"The Blue Ribbon Commission was never likely to uncover the truth because the scale of the problem in the Atlanta Public Schools was too deep given the limited resources available and the time restrictions on the Commission's work."

And the Investigators put up a red flag:

"Many of Dr. Hall's supporters defended her and the District. The possibility of a negative reflection on the Atlanta brand caused some to protect Dr. Hall and attack the messengers. Image was more important than the truth. An email we obtained (the investigators) illustrates this belief. The email, from Senior Vice President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Renay Blumenthal, stated that the BRC final Report is to be 'finessed" past the Governor. This effort was unsuccessful. Somewhere in the process, the truth got lost, and so did the children."

Despite repeated efforts Wednesday, both the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Sam Williams, its President, refused to comment on these latest developments and accusations.

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