GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A lawsuit an instrument rental company filed against Grandville Public Schools settled this week outside of court, saving both parties likely thousands more dollars.
Owner of West Michigan Band Instruments David Didaskalou says he's grateful to settle with GPS Superintendent Roger Bearup: GPS will no longer have an exclusive vendor attending their annual parent night event when many families begin instrument rental contracts. Now the September event will pass out brochures from all interested companies, including Didaskalou's.
"I’m really happy," said Didaskalou. "It’s a long time coming. It’s been a fight that I’ve been involved with for many, many, many years."
Didaskalou filed this lawsuit, and a similar one, against GPS and then Coopersville Area Public Schools in Aug. 2017. The lawsuit against CAPS is pending, while Didaskalou won a similar legal battle against Spring Lake Public Schools after filing in 2016.
"We’re very happy," Didaskalou reiterated. "I think it’s a win-win both for us, the parents in Grandville, the administration, the band directors--I can’t thank Roger Bearup actually enough, the Superintendent of Grandville, for sitting down with me and actually being able to get this worked out so it can be fair for all vendors involved."
In response, GPS' Superintendent Roger Bearup wrote FOX 17:
"Grandville Public Schools is very happy with the agreement made with West Michigan Band Instruments. We worked together to create a win-win and we believe both sides can be happy with the outcome."
With a similar pending lawsuit against CAPS, Superintendent Ron Veldman wrote FOX 17:
"The district has been advised by legal counsel to not comment regarding the substance of pending litigation. We have received a copy of the complaint filed in federal court by plaintiff, West Michigan Band Instruments, LLC. In light of the filing of the complaint, I am not free to comment on specifics at this time. However, legal counsel advises that the complaint has no merit and we look forward to defending against the claims in court."
Didaskalou says he hopes the agreement with Bearup sets a precedent for other districts to level the playing field.
"Let’s put it in the hands of the parents," he said. "Let’s let the parents decide which store fits their needs the best, and then competition wins: competition does a couple things. It lowers the cost, and it raises competition among vendors, and who wins out? Parents."