OPSB President Accuses Ira Thomas of Favoritism in Contracts
Posted on Jun 20, 2014 in Local Issues
Nolan Marshall, Jr., president of the Orleans Parish School Board, has responded to criticism by member Ira Thomas of his family’s involvement in construction contracts by accusing him of showing favoritism to particular companies. A company owned by Mr. Shall’s relatives, Nolmar Construction, was in line for a school construction contract. Thomas is now calling for Marshall to step down as president in light of this issue.
The School Board initially awarded the $51 million contract to a group, which included Nolmar Construction, owned by relatives of Nolan Marshall, Jr. They have since backtracked on that decision, and Mr. Marshall has asked the U.S. Attorney to investigate.
Thomas thinks asking the U.S. Attorney to investigate is too little and too late, and is asking for Marshall to step down as president. The president thinks Thomas’ preference for woman- or-minority owned businesses shows favoritism on his part.
This new tension has escalated the divided school board since there still has been no move forward in selecting a new superintendent. Hiring a superintendent requires 5 votes, and each time the 7 member board has been split 4-3 with Nolan Marshall, Jr., Seth Bloom, Sarah Usdin, and Woody Koppel on one side and Ira Thomas, Cynthia Cade, and Leslie Ellison on the other.