By David Madden

COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — The school board in Coatesville has taken dramatic action in an effort to get to the bottom of a theft-and-fraud probe being conducted by the Chester County district attorney.

The district has decided to waive attorney-client privilege in the matter of its onetime lawyer and will release its own independent probe and forensic audit.

Both moves are being praised by DA Tom Hogan.

“By waiving the privilege, they are allowing the district attorney’s office to really finish our investigation regarding former solicitor James Ellison,” Hogan tells KYW Newsradio.  “This will allow us to get behind the legal bills and find out if he actually did this work or if, in fact, the school district was defrauded for potentially millions of dollars.”

Hogan suggests Ellison may have ripped the district off to the tune of as much as $6.9 million.

Former schools superintendent Richard Como and ex-athletic director Jim Donato have already been indicted by a grand jury.

Ellison’s attorney was not available for comment.