(AJC) — In February 2010, some of Atlanta’s top business leaders realized they had a problem. For a decade, they had aligned themselves with Beverly Hall, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. They willingly accepted Hall’s story line of rebirth in an urban school system. They promoted and sometimes exaggerated Hall’s achievements — for her benefit and for their own. State officials, though, were suggesting gains by Atlanta schools resulted from widespread cheating. Suddenly, the deal between Hall and the business community took on Faustian overtones. The way business leaders responded underscores their complicity in creating the façade of success that hid a decade of alleged wrongdoing, an examination by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows. Their reaction also hints at the role business executives might take in rebuilding the school district’s reputation amid Hall’s departure and a still-unfolding cheating scandal.