School board chair adamant that her lips were sealed
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
April 22, 2014 04:00 AM | 10438 views | 10 10 comments | 92 92 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COBB School Board Chairwoman Kathy Angelucci forcefully denied Monday the accusation in one of last week’s blizzard of emails from a supporter of embattled school board member Scott Sweeney she had shared board executive session secrets with anyone — especially Michelle Sollicito, the sender of the emails in question.

Meanwhile, in the wake of that damaging barrage of emails from Sollicito, Sweeney likely is thinking, “With supporters like her, who needs enemies?”

As Around Town reported Saturday, Sollicito unleashed a volley of emails last week to Angelucci, Vice Chairman Randy Scamihorn, Sweeney, Sweeney’s wife, Sandy, and various MDJers, including Around Town, all in vociferous defense of Sweeney, who faces serious conflict of interest questions in the wake of news he was quietly hired as a consultant by giant Promethean Ltd., maker of the digital whiteboards used in thousands of schools worldwide.

Among other things (including out-of-left-field remarks about Sweeney’s attractiveness, her estrangement from her own husband and a presumed joke about finding Sweeney’s wife more sexy than him), Sollicito wrote “Even though I have become possibly (Sweeney’s) strongest supporter, he refuses to divulge any information he considers to be confidential (e.g. he would never discuss personnel issues or Executive Session issues with me) so I had to go to Kathy Angelucci and [board member] David Banks for some of that type of information (David is not the most reliable source by the way as I think you now realize).”

That comment drew a stern response from Angelucci on Monday. She emailed Sollicito (and copied it to AT) she and Scamihorn are requesting a meeting with her and Sweeney to discuss her “libelous and false statement” in the email referenced above.

“Please be prepared to provide proof to substantiate your claims,” she added.

“I want to make clear that I am seeking legal advice and am prepared to move on holding you accountable for your false statements. I have never at any time shared anything with you regarding what is discussed in Executive Session.”

“Please let us know when you are available to meet to discuss this very serious and grave action on your part,” she concluded.

Angelucci followed that with an email directly to AT: “This is in response to the insinuation made by Ms. Michelle Sollicito in the Marietta Daily Journal’s Around Town this weekend that I divulged or discussed personnel or Executive Session issues with her. I refute her claim and am stating categorically that I never at any time discussed or shared personnel or Executive Session issues with Ms. Sollicito. Her claim is baseless and completely without merit.

“I hope that Ms. Sollicito will expend the same effort, exuberance and publicity to clear my name as she has to besmirch it.”

Sweeney is trying to withstand a heated challenge from political newcomer Kevin Nicholas in the upcoming May 20 GOP Primary. Interestingly, Sweeney apparently has made no public comment on Sollicito’s emails.

THE PREVIOUSLY LITTLE-KNOWN Sollicito rocketed to prominence during January’s snowstorm, when a Facebook page she created was credited with linking 50,000 people stranded by the storm with Good Samaritans. She’s now in the process of developing a “docuseries” about the incident with the help of Lumb3rack Films of Atlanta, which will shoot a trailer, hopefully to be followed by five one-hour episodes. According to a posting on the Southern Casting Call website, the effort has the backing of Facebook, The Home Depot and others, although the website warns most of those hired would be working on a “deferred pay” basis. Sollicito would host the series.

Sollicito emailed Angelucci on Sunday asking if she’d be interested in taking part.

“We would still like to interview you for the docuseries,” Sollicito wrote. “If you would like to participate our filming dates are 10 and 11 may. The Weather Channel has expressed interest in airing it so we are now on a deadline.”

Angelucci’s answer probably was not the one she had hoped for: “In response to your request for my participation in an interview, I can safely say that based on your actions, your bias for a specific political candidate for the Board of Education and your demonstrated inability to be truthful; I must decline.”


MEANWHILE, you’ll recall Angelucci told the MDJ last week she was surprised to learn that as board chair she is an ex officio member of the Cobb Schools Foundation, which raises private funds on behalf of the system. That came as a surprise as well to her predecessor, Scamihorn, who was chair last year. Also raising eyebrows are the facts that Foundation member Jim Marshall is Promethean’s president and CEO, and that Morten Brante, husband Sheri Brante, executive director of the Foundation, is senior vice president of services for Promethean. Moreover, the Foundation only brought in between $15,000 and $40,000 more than the $136,000 the system paid the Foundation, according to Scamihorn. Not much bang for the buck, in other words.

So Angelucci and Scamihorn have “requested” a meeting with Brante and Foundation Chair Dr. John Crooks (a former school board member) for Thursday. Others invited are Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, the system’s CFO and chief of staff — but no other school board members. The meeting will not be open to the public.

Angelucci and Scamihorn set up the meeting April 14. Angelucci noted in an email Monday morning to the MDJ, “as of this writing, (Crooks) has neglected to respond.”


ONE OF HOLLYWOOD’S biggest heartthrobs of the 1970s — Robert Redford — and one of its most memorable “tough guys” from those days — Nick Nolte — are slated to be in Marietta on Wednesday in connection with the filming of “A Walk in the Woods,” based on the 1998 Bill Bryson memoir about two old friends attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail. Sources tell Around Town filming will take place in Louise’s Restaurant on Kennesaw Avenue, long known for its country-style breakfasts and down-home setting. Redford is coproducing the film, which also will star Hayley Lovitt, who has been seen in “Homeland” and “The Bachelorette.”

As Around Town reported earlier this month, Georgia now is the third-busiest state in the country, after only California and New York, when it comes to film and TV production work.


POLITICS: 11th District Congressional hopeful Barry Loudermilk released a poll Monday showing him holding a slight edge in the May 20 GOP Primary race to succeed Phil Gingrey. He got the support of 25 percent of those who took part in a poll of 500 likely GOP voters conducted April 17 by Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone. The margin of error of 4.5 percent.

Coming in second was Bob Barr with 23 percent, followed by Tricia Pridemore with 11 percent and Ed Lindsey with 8 percent. The other two candidates in the race, Larry Mrozinski and Allen Levene, apparently did not show up in the poll. Twenty-six percent of respondents answered “undecided.” …

Loudermilk picked up the endorsement of state Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-north Cobb) on Monday. “Barry has a strong foundation, a stiff spine and a unique ability to find common ground when needed,” he said. …

The MDJ’s Dick Yarbrough will moderate an 11th District “panel discussion” Wednesday for the Chairman’s Club of the Cobb Chamber. Barr, Lindsey, Loudermilk and Pridemore have all committed to attend. …

The Pridemore campaign will host “An Evening with Banks & Shane” at the Strand Theatre at 8 p.m. May 2. Tickets are $35. ...

House District 34 Candidate Bert Reeves will hold a meet and greet Wednesday at the Marietta Country Club clubhouse. He and his band, “The Goodbye Machine” will perform at the Taste of Marietta Sunday with a pair of guests: Dodgen Middle School singer/pianist Carlton Kell, 12, and Kennesaw Mountain High singer/guitarist Zach Seabaugh, 15. …

Michael Opitz, who’s running for the District 3 Northeast Cobb Commission seat, has picked up the endorsement of AFL-CIO affiliate Cobb Firefighters Local 2563. ...

The Cobb County Republican Women’s Club will host Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal at an 11:30 a.m. Friday luncheon at the Atlanta/Marietta Hilton on Powder Springs Road. ...

Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood is headlining a campaign reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday for Cobb Superior Court candidate Juanita Stedman at the Strand. Co-hosts include Bill and Sherry Gentry, Kim Gresh, Clark and Cheryl Hungerford and Dr. and Mrs. Jim Leake.

And there’ll be a meet-and-greet for Stedman at Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth from 5:30-7:30 p.m. this evening.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Come on . . .
April 24, 2014
Yes, Scott Sweeney recently engaged as a consultant for a company that sold smart boards to Cobb County 5 years ago. And yes, he disclosed the relationship. What's really irritating is the level to which this is being raised as an issue when clearly there are other existing board members with much larger ethical issues. Sounds to me like Angelluci, and other like-minded people are simply out to prevent Sweeney from being re-elected. Maybe they should look more closely at his opponent. It wouldn't take too long to scratch beneath the surface there and find something concerning. Like I heard he pulled one of his kids from their assigned school in Cobb b/c he wan't happy with the teachers or the school. Just saying.
2nd choice?
April 23, 2014
Realizing that madam chairwoman has her plate full of " no I didn't", makes it a little more understandable that she never considered a second choice for interim superintendent.

The fact that NO other BOE member has come forward and questioned the integrity of a man and his personal "affairs" while he was married, or his lack of educational requirements for this position, is baffling.

Do any of the board members ever talk to each other or do they only talk ABOUT each other?

God help Cobb County Schools.
April 23, 2014
Michell and her wacky BFF JoEllen need to move on.
April 23, 2014
Isn't there a PTA meeting that Sollicito should be attending? Where prisons help keep criminals from roaming the streets, PTA's were intended to provide kooks like this with a forum - so the rest of the world doesn't have to hear from them.
Just Wait
April 22, 2014
What a case of Harper Valley PTA. This is better than a soap opera.
Out of control
April 22, 2014
I think Sollicito has let her fame go to her head and now thinks that she can get away with whatever she wants. Yes she did an excellent job setting up a Facebook page and kudos to her for that. But to now all of a sudden think that her opinion counts for anything? The only part she got correct was Sweeney's conflict of interest. Other than that, she really needs to take a breather and get a hold of reality!
Michelle Sollicito
April 22, 2014
In response to Kathy Angelucci's threat to sue me (she said I lied when I said that she told me info about personnel matters and exec session info, that her lips were sealed).. I sent her this email

I tried not to embarrass you Kathy, because I had always liked you as a School Board member, I felt you had the kids at heart. As you know, I praised you for what you did during Snow night helping the kids get home using SnowedOutAtlanta.

I feel you give me no choice. I have to release this email despite the fact that at the time I know you were being nice to me and doing me a favor, because you are now making libelous statements about me via the MDJ and via email - suggesting that I was lying.

See below. You commented on personnel matters (stating that Banks seemed to think his colleagues irrelevant).

You released info that should have been reserved for Executive Session. No one outside of the Board was at this time supposed to know that East Valley and Powers Ferry were not being considered for rebuild. That info was supposed to be confidential to the Board (Executive Session).

As I have said nothing untrue, I trust I will get a public apology in the MDJ from you?

Hide message history

On Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:29 PM, Kangelucci Boardmember wrote:

Ms. Sollicito,

Well done!

But, I assure you; Mr. Banks is acting on his own. He has not presented anything to the board. He obviously considers the other six of his colleagues to be irrelevant.

I have been visiting schools up for consideration and neither East Valley nor Powers Ferry was one of them.

I am glad that you and your East Valley neighbors are happy there - we will due our due diligence and make the best decision for all Posts concerned.

Thank you for your advocacy,

Kathleen Angelucci

Cobb County BOE, Post 4
Group Player
April 22, 2014
Is the he next CCSB meeting going to be held at Club Trapeze
No Filter
April 22, 2014
Michelle Sollicito has proven that she has no filter. Therefore, I believe what she said about Kathy Angelucci -- especially since she said it in an unrelated ramble and meant it as a compliment. Then add in Sunday's emails, which confirms that they've had friendly exchanges about the docuseries in the recent past.

Which is worse, being lose-lipped or being a liar? Actually, being lose-lipped THEN being a liar is the worst of all. Where's the integrity?
Who you kidding...
April 22, 2014
Notice Ms. Angelucci stated "that I never at any time discussed or shared personnel or Executive Session issues with Ms. Sollicito". The proverbial word is ‘with Ms. Sollicioto’.
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