Lexington School District 2 has filed a lawsuit alleging that some 20 separate Freedom of Information requests filed by a man seeking information about how athletics money is used at Brookland-Cayce High School have amounted to harassment.
Moreover, the man, Wayne McKim, has already refused to pay some $3,000 in costs associated with some of the FOIs and is refusing to pay, the lawsuit alleged.
“The defendant has become obsessed with the school district and has engaged in serious activities intended to abuse the public information system and to harass and interfere with the operation of the school,” the district’s lawsuit charged.
McKim has been “placed on notice to stay away” from district property, the school district said in its lawsuit, filed June 9 in state court in Lexington County by private Lexington attorney Jake Moore.
But in an answer to that lawsuit, McKim fired back.
Many records he seeks are “easily retrievable,” McKim said in his answer, filed Wednesday, and he had three children who were in district schools, including Brookland-Cayce, this past school year.
Last February, McKim said in his answer, he became aware of “numerous possible breaches of public trust by Brookland-Cayce High School and, particularly, the BCHS Athletics Department.”
McKim is “an active member of the community, is a loyal supporter of LSD2 and BCHS, and has been a substantial financial donor to LSD2 since 2003,” his lawsuit said. His wife also works for the school district, his lawsuit said.
Information he seeks involves the question of whether the Brookland-Cayce High School’s football and basketball teams have been actively involved in recruiting players.
McKim said in his lawsuit that allegations he has heard include reports of transfer athletes using false residential addresses within the high school’s attendance area “so as to allow them to play immediately” and not have to sit out a year.
Other information he seeks from the school district includes documents showing how money was handled in the purchase of the school’s stadium scoreboard, audits of the school’s booster club from 2012-2016 and copies of more than $100,000 worth of some 23 checks issued by the school or booster club from 2014 through December 2016.
McKim also said the district’s order telling him to stay off school property is meant to harass him and has caused him harm because he cannot attend any school functions involving his children or wife.
In his answer to the district’s lawsuit, McKim added Lexington School District 2 superintendent William James as a defendant. McKim is represented by Columbia attorney George Taylor.
Brookland-Cayce, located in Cayce, has a student population of about 1,000. Its motto is “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.”
Taylor, McKim’s lawyer, made a statement saying in part that McKim “cares for Brookland-Cayce High School and Lexington School District 2, where three of his children attend school. He wants to ensure those in power are upholding the public trust and are held accountable if and when they fail to do so.”
Moore, the school district’s lawyer, said late Friday the district intends to answer all legitimate FOIA requests, but it has limited time and resources and the cost of McKim’s requests easily exceed $3,000 – a bill that he should pay. The district’s lawsuit asks the court to establish an orderly process for payment, Moore said.
Also, McKim can go on school property if he has a legitimate purpose, and he should ask his lawyer to call Moore when he wants to go on school property, Moore said.