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School System Could Terminate Contract With Missing Chapel Hill Attorney

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education is expected this week to terminate its contract with a missing Chapel Hill attorney under investigation by state authorities.

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 school board is expected to take up the matter, as a result of the investigation, at its regular meeting on Thursday.

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 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 $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.