The Caniglia Management Group are using Jonathan “Jay” Brooks' own words against him, as they respond to accusations of negligence in his building of Compass Academy.

The Caniglia's lawsuit alleges they were to be paid 5 percent of the Compass project's total cost, or $350,000 in contractually set increments. But, the suit alleges, they had only received $17,000 in June when they were told their “services were no longer needed because the Texas investors had refused to permit any further payments.”

Last month, the Brookses denied the Caniglias' claims and launched their own counterclaim. The response claims the Caniglias were negligent in their operations and failed to complete many aspects of their assigned roles. However, in response to the Brookses' counterclaims, a letter from Jay Brooks describes Tom Caniglia as “invaluable.”

“We do feel that your input and support is invaluable,” Brooks is said to have written. “However it only makes sense to take advantage of your knowledge if we can pay you what it is worth, and, right now, we just can't.”

The Caniglia Group was hired to assist with selecting property for Compass Academy, contract with an architect and aid in the acquiring the correct zoning permits to build and interact with utilities and to act as a liaison between “contractors, builders and architects and city, county and state officials.”

The counterclaim also offers the contract and three checks – one from Brooks Financial for $5,000 and two from Compass Academy for $4,000 each – to show the nature of the agreement signed by Tracy Brooks and Tom Caniglia.

The filing notes that the Brookses missed the first payments to The Caniglia Group.

• Mike Gellatly covers the Savannah River Site and Courts for The Aiken Standard. The oversized Scot has 13 years of experience in Aiken County, first coming to the United States for a summer job at Camp Gravatt while attending the University of Stirling in his homeland. He now has two (American) children from a marriage that started at that Episcopal church camp.