School superintendent recorded in racist rant, lawsuit says

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The superintendent of the city of Buford's school district in metro Atlanta used racist language and spoke of wanting to kill black construction workers who had angered him, according to accusations in a race-discrimination lawsuit.

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The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, includes audio recordings to buttress its claims.

Superintendent Geye Hamby, in two recorded conversations, allegedly used racial epithets repeatedly when referring to African-American workers at a construction site, according to the recordings attached to the lawsuit.

“(Expletive) that (n-word). I’ll kill these (expletive) – shoot that (expletive) if they let me,” the person identified as Hamby can be heard saying. The person speaking repeatedly refers to blacks as “deadbeat (n-word).”

Hamby declined to address the allegations.

"This is a personnel and legal matter pertaining to a disgruntled employee," he said in a statement emailed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "District council has advised not to comment."

Lawyers representing Hamby and the school district, in a response to the lawsuit filed Aug. 1, denied allegations that Hamby openly uses racist language when referring to black people.

Walt Britt, a Buford attorney representing the five-member school board, said the board is aware of the “purported audio recording of Geye Hamby.”

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Britt added, “(W)e have been unable to determine its veracity and authenticity and whether the recording was altered and was at the consent of at least one party or the product of illegal surveillance. Our investigation continues into this matter, but we are hamstrung in that the plaintiff has failed or refused to produce the original recording for testing or provide any information concerning the background or foundation of the recording.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Buford City Schools Superintendent Geye Hamby.

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Buford City Schools Superintendent Geye Hamby.

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Combined ShapeCaption
Buford City Schools Superintendent Geye Hamby.

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hamby (whose first name is pronounced GUY) has led the Buford schools since 2006. The four-school district has only about 4,800 students, but Hamby’s 2017 base salary was $308,000, among the highest among superintendents in the state, records show.

The lawsuit does not say when Hamby allegedly made these remarks or with whom he was speaking. It also does not specify where the recordings came from. It’s possible the person making the racist comments did not know he was being recorded at the time.

Atlanta lawyer Ed Buckley, who represents the plaintiff in the lawsuit, declined to disclose where he obtained the recordings or say when the conversations occurred. But Buckley, who hired an expert to examine and analyze the audio, said he is certain it's Hamby making the racist comments in the recordings. He also denied the district's claim that they have "failed or refused" to produce the audio.

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“It is embedded in the complaint. They have it,” he said.

Buckley's client, Mary Ingram, 66, filed suit against Hamby and Buford's school district in late June. A Buford native, she worked for the city school system for more than 18 years, mostly as a paraprofessional.

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