Did board member give false info in Deedara Hicks investigation?


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Did board member give false info in Deedara Hicks investigation?

By Matt Grant. CREATED Apr 24, 2013

FORT MYERS - Did a Lee County school board member provide false information to state investigators?

When state officials began asking questions about whether or not a top official, Deedara Hicks, showed up to work drunk, board member Jeanne Dozier recalled a conversation with Sheriff Mike Scott.

"Do you stand by the report, what you told investigators?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"I stand by the conversation that I had with the investigators," said Dozier.

Under questioning, Dozier told investigators that Scott told her during a 2012 fundraiser: "What are you going to do about her" referring to Hicks. Dozier tells Fox 4 Scott was talking generally about the district's scandals and not about Hicks in particular.

The state's report, based on an interview with Dozier, said: "Sheriff Scott advised Ms. Dozier that Dr. Hicks appeared to be impaired."

Dozier admits that's not accurate.

"He never said that he saw her impaired," said Dozier. "Absolutely not."

She says investigators got that part wrong.

"I think he was trying to take notes too fast and too furiously," said Dozier. "And he kind of transcribed some things backwards."

Instead, Dozier says Scott told her people from the community had called him to make those accusations.

"What I said to the investigator was that he [Scott] had said to me that people had been calling him," said Dozier, "to say, 'Hey you need to follow her because she appears to be impaired sometimes when she leaves the office.'"

Reached by phone, Sheriff Scott says he doesn't recall ever discussing the Hicks matter with Dozier.

"She was told that I was asked to follow Ms. Hicks, Dr. Hicks," said Scott. "That's definitely not the case."

Scott believes this is all a misunderstanding.

"I just want to set the record straight," said Scott, "That I don't have any involvement with this matter."

Which, is why Scott sent a letter to Dozier Tuesday saying: "I do not recall this conversation with you, and I am concerned that my name ended up in some type of official report on this matter...I have never uttered the statements..."

"So you never said these things about Dr. Hicks that Jeanne Dozier alleges you said?," asked Grant.

"Correct," said Scott. "I don't recall that conversation."

"Why do you think your name would have come up?," asked Grant.

"I don't know," said Scott.

Dozier stands by her story.

"I wouldn't just say this," said Dozier. "It didn't just come out of the clear blue, we had the conversation."

The state Department of Education, which conducted the investigation, said they can't comment because they haven't seen the letter.

Board chair Mary Fischer said she will consult with the district's attorney about the letter, calling this an "unnecessary distraction."

Matt Grant

Twitter @MattGrantFox4