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Leon Schools To Release FBI Search Warrant In Ongoing School Construction Probe

Jackie Pons

The Leon County School district says it will give the public a look at a search warrant executed last week once it gets approval from the federal government. The district’s email server was taken as part of an ongoing investigation into the way it awarded school construction jobs.

Leon County Schools Spokesman Chris Petley says the district has asked federal authorities to approve the release of the search warrant. Once the approval is granted, the district will make the document public.

The FBI took the district’s email server as part of an ongoing investigation into whether Leon Superintendent Jackie Pons authorized certain school construction awards to political donors. Pons has denied wrongdoing. Some of those projects involved federal funding, and several audits have found the district skirted the spirit—but not the letter of the law when it comes to doling out dollars to get the jobs done. 

The issue gained steam early last year when an anonymous group gave out a packet of information to local media outlets alleging wrongdoing. Former Lively Principal Woody Hildebrandt is claiming whistleblower protections for his role in distributing the packet and in a lawsuit, he claims the district is retaliating against him. The Tallahassee Democrat reports Hildebrandt has been an FBI an informant since 2013. He was recently arrested on theft charges stemming from use of district supplies at his private residence.