BRADENTON -- Superintendent Rick Mills is assigning a new law firm to investigate Troy Pumphrey, according to an email sent to Manatee County School Board members.
Richeson & Coke of Fort Pierce is now lead counsel, replacing Sniffen & Spellman, a Tallahassee-based firm, according to a Feb. 3 email from Mills.
"They are an excellent firm that works with Florida school districts in labor and employee law," Mills wrote in the email obtained by the Bradenton Herald.
Mills suspended Pumphrey with pay in mid-January after he received an anonymous package of information concerning Pumphrey. The Manatee County School District will not release the content of the package, which is part of an ongoing investigation.
The information relates to an "1997 business deal gone sour," Pumphrey said in a lawsuit filed against the district, the board and board member Dave "Watchdog"
Miner the same day he was suspended.
Mills had previously announced Sniffen & Spellman, which worked with the district on the Roderick Frazier student abuse cases, would investigate Pumphrey's initial May 2013 employment application and subsequent August 2014 employment application with the district. This investigation will include all prior reviews conducted into Pumphrey's qualifications for employment within the district, Mills said.
Community members voiced concerns over Sniffen & Spellman leading the investigation since Pumphrey worked closely with them in the Frazier matters.
In October, Miner began calling for Pumphrey's resignation, saying he lied on his resume as part of his application to work with the school district. Pumphrey said he held Class C/MA license, which deals with being a private investigator in Florida, but he had only applied for it and never received it.
Miner's request failed to gain traction with board members and district officials until Mills received the anonymous package and placed Pumphrey on paid administrative leave.
Under terms of Pumphrey's leave, he is required to check in with Mills daily to provide his whereabouts, is not allowed to leave his county of residence during normal business hours unless he has Mills' permission and is not allowed to make contact with district employees.
If Pumphrey violates those terms, it could lead to further disciplinary action, according to the letter sent to him when he was suspended.