When federal law enforcement came knocking on a local superintendent's door, there were a lot of questions, but not many answers available to the public.
Nearly three months later, a lot of those questions remain unanswered. An FBI spokesperson said in June that the visit to Athens City Schools' then-Superintendent Trey Holladay's home was a "law enforcement action" but provided no further comment. On Wednesday, they reiterated the statement.
The U.S. Attorney's Northern District of Alabama office directed The News Courier to the Middle District, which represents counties in the southeastern portion of the state. A spokesperson for the Middle District clarified a search warrant was executed June 9 but could not say whether there was a case or even an investigation at this time.
Beyond that, all that's been made public is Athens City Board of Education's confidence that their finances are in good order, and those finances include continuing to pay Holladay while someone else acts as superintendent.
Board members unanimously approved Holladay's request for administrative leave June 11, with board president Russell Johnson saying it would be "for an indefinite period." Holladay's contract was extended in July 2019 to run through June 30, 2022.
During the 2019 meeting, board members also voted unanimously to give Holladay a raise. According to figures released in January by the Alabama State Department of Education, his salary sits among the top 15 for city superintendents at $186,134 annually. Only six county superintendents in Alabama have a higher salary.
That means he's received about $46,533 since going on administrative leave. The News Courier was unable to obtain a detailed copy of Holladay's contract before its press deadline, but Johnson said Wednesday that given the terms of the contract, it's cheaper to keep paying Holladay each month than buy out the rest of his contract — even though the board isn't sure how long he'll be unable to do the job for which he's being paid.
"We'll evaluate as we get more information," he said, later adding that "until this gets resolved, our hands are tied."
He did note that as far as the board knows, their "books are clean" and recent audits of the system were good. He said unless something comes in out of left field, the situation that led to an FBI law enforcement action and Holladay going on paid leave did not involve ACS' finances.
"We're in good shape," Johnson said.