Local News

School Board Terminates Contract With Missing Attorney

Posted July 21, 2006

— The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board has terminated its contract with a missing attorney.

Law enforcement officials said John McCormick disappeared last week at about the same time authorities started investigating nearly $1.3 million in missing money.

The board voted 6-0 to terminate McCormick's contract. It also voted 6-0 in favor of using the N.C. School Board Association to look for an interim attorney to fill in until a permanent replacement is found.

Although McCormick never had access to public funds as the school system's attorney -- a position he served in for 20 years -- school officials said Tuesday that they went back and examined its holdings just to be sure. No money was found to be missing.

Last Tuesday, a car belonging to McCormick's family was found abandoned at the Orange County entrance to Duke Forest. About the same time, the state bar association froze his business accounts.

Home manufacturer D.R. Horton filed suit against the attorney claiming he took more than $800,000 from the company. A Chapel Hill couple filed a similar complaint saying McCormick owed them $300,000.

The state Bureau of Investigation's Financial Crimes Unit is now handling the case and will turn over its findings to Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall, who will decide whether to file charges.

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