Brett Shipp Visits the Houston HQ of Company That Got DISD's $40-Mil Tech Contract. Um ...

On August we told you that the Dallas Independent School District had been hit with a $40-million breach of contract lawsuit filed by a technology vendor with whom the trustees had agreed to do business till, out of nowhere, district officials just decided to go with someone else. In May trustees awarded to Lewisville-based Delcom Group that massive deal to give DISD's classrooms a digital makeover; one month later, it ripped up the contract and opted to go with Houston-based Prime. The district's reason: One of Delcom's underlings has a long-ago felony conviction on his record. The real reason: Former DISD trustee Ron Price started making some calls to district officials -- why remains unclear.

One month ago, trustees went behind closed doors to discuss the deal with district attorneys. Two weeks ago, they unanimously ratified the new contract with Prime -- though, as trustees were told at the time, even if they didn't, DISD was still going with the Houston-based vendor. Their OK was just a ... formality, let's say. The case, incidentally, is now in the Fifth Court of Appeals: Delcom's brief was filed two weeks ago; the district pushed its response till December 21.

That's the only way the district will comment on the suit: As you can see above, no one at 3700 Ross would talk to Brett Shipp about his look-see into the curious deal with Prime. Too bad; he does raise some interesting questions, chief among them: What the hell? See, Shipp actually went down to Houston to see Prime's facilities for himself. No wonder Doug Busey, director of AV services for Delcom, told trustees to take their own peek when he spoke to them in early November. Guess they never did, or else they might have wondered how the district wound up handing $40 million to a company that sells refurbished computers and remote-control cars out of a tattered storefront done up in Star Trek font.

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