Southside Band Parents Consider Lawsuit

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Southside High School band parents out more than a quarter million dollars consider filing a class action lawsuit. The band was supposed to go to Hawaii next month, but the school says their travel agent admitted to “mishandling” the money.

“I know of students who took on a part time job just so they could go on this trip,” said Debbie Everly, a band parent.

Everly contacted an attorney after the school told parents Calliope “Ope” Saage with Performing Hawaii Tours LLC admitted he “made some band investments.” Parents want their money back.

“Obviously we can’t trust him, so why shouldn’t we be assertive enough to take the first step of waiting,” said Everly.

Southside band directors called the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office. Both agencies are investigating.

Fort Smith attorney Kevin Hickey contacted band parents wanting to help. “Well, we’re hoping to get their money back or as much of it was we can,” said Hickey.

Hickey says if parents are on board they plan to pursue a class action lawsuit. He said, “To me the more pressure we can put on this guy the better.”

Everly plans to be proactive. She said, “I don’t want to wait six months and him go ahead and liquidate those assets and give them out to his family or whatever to cover it up.”

If parents decide to move forward, Hickey plans to file the suit within the next several weeks.

Band parents will meet with the attorneys next Tuesday, May 22, at 6 p.m. in the Southside cafeteria.