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DCSS Board member investigated

Police say possible problem brought to authorties' attention by DCSS Director of Finance Robert Lloyd

Velvet Riggins

Velvet Riggins

ALBANY, Ga. — Dougherty County School System Police Chief Troy Conley confirmed Tuesday that Dougherty County School Board member Velvet Riggins is under investigation for allegedly filing false information on a 2011-12 school lunch application.

Conley said the investigation was launched last week after Dougherty County Finance Director Robert Lloyd brought a possible problem to the attention of the police.

“We’re not close to wrapping this thing up, we’re still in the beginning phase,” Conley said. “We are hoping to interview her (Riggins) sometime this week.

Conley said that Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have been notified and will be “working in conjunction” with the DCSS police.

Edwards said that if charges were brought in the matter, he would recuse himself from hearing the matter directly and would ask the Georgia Attorney General’s Office to appoint a special prosecutor.

“I anticipate that I will recuse myself from that particular part of the investigation,” Edwards said. “We’ll continue on with the other school lunch prosecutions, like with the principal (Gloria Baker), but will hand over anything involving Mrs. Riggins to the attorney general.”

Edwards said that the decision to recuse himself comes in an effort to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, given that he knows Riggins socially and professionally. He said he wants to ensure the investigation “remains aboveboard.”

Riggins, reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, said, “I have no comment at this time. I just can’t say anything.”

She confirmed she has retained the services of attorney Mark Brimberry.

School system attorney Tommy Coleman said the board’s options are limited in regard to possible discipline against Riggins if the allegations are proven to be true.

“The Board does not have the power to remove her from office, only the governor’s office has that power and only if she is convicted of a felony.” said Coleman. “The most the board can do is censure her.”

School Board Chair James Bush, reached while leaving the School Administration Building, said he was shocked by the allegations against Riggins.

“Velvet is a very close friend of mine and is a person I respect,” Bush said. “I am not privy to the investigation, and I can only hope these allegations are not true.”

The Riggins investigation comes on the heels of the arrest last month of Morningside Elementary Principal Gloria Baker and her husband, John, on three counts each of fraud for allegedly falsifying information on free or reduced lunch applications.

Baker was suspended by the School Board for 15 days without pay, but the couple’s legal issues have yet to be resolved.

Citing child privacy concerns, the DCSS late last month turned down The Albany Herald’s Open Records request to review the lunch applications of system employees and School Board members.

Comments

TheBoss 2 years, 7 months ago

Birds of a feather flock together.

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LuLu 2 years, 7 months ago

Haha! Love it! Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't she the one who bent over backwards to get her good buddy #34 hired as Superintendent??

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 7 months ago

No, I think that was Anita Brown-Williams, or Williams-Brown...

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Jacob 2 years, 7 months ago

I have to say, the government in Albany is much more entertaining since I moved and stopped paying taxes there. What a clown show!

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supersquawker 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure it's all some kind of unfortunate misunderstanding. Navigating the "entities" within the school system is very confusing. As a side note, I expect Gloria Baker's husband will take the rap for her.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 7 months ago

supersquawker... I think your picture is hilarious!!!

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Outtahere 2 years, 7 months ago

Well, I will be very intrested in the outcome! IF she is guilty, I wonder how this will effect her position?! I'm also wondering how many others they will investigate! Hopefully this is a start in the right direction - of getting the bad apples out!!!

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VSU 2 years, 7 months ago

Gloria Baker didn't lose her job. No reason to think Velvet Riggins will lose hers.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 7 months ago

What happens when you run out of apples?

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Citizen_A 2 years, 7 months ago

Is anyone shocked? Did anyone honestly think Gloria Baker could be the only one? Hope this isn't true, but won't be surprised if more come out in the investigation.

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spookj6 2 years, 7 months ago

I notice that they are all of a sudden investagating school lunches, what ever happened about the $3,000,000 that came up missing when Dr. Sally Whatley was the Superintendent.

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brendajohnson 2 years, 7 months ago

spookkj6: Several years ago, the Child Nutrition Dept. jumped the gun and gave free lunches to all students. Once the application was turned down, DCSS was out all that money for the lunches that were given away. That is what happened to the school lunch money—no theft was involved.

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Citizen_A 2 years, 7 months ago

Thank-you "brendajohnson" for clearing that up. I'm tired of hear about that situation every time another story comes up.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 7 months ago

A school board member's child getting free lunch. They ought to deduct the proceeds from all of their salaries as well as impeachment. This is worse than a principal. She should do the right thing for once and resign.

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Momof3 2 years, 7 months ago

School board members are not paid officials? Are they? I didn't think they were....

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Local 2 years, 7 months ago

They only receive a small stipend each month.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 7 months ago

They make $200 a month, and remember they go to retreats and conventions too...

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 7 months ago

Who r we kidding? Nothing's gonna happen to her or anyone else that is caught.

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truthsayer 2 years, 7 months ago

The hits keep coming. Wonder what ole #34 thinks of this? Sounds like two vacation days with pay. This school board needs to be investigated. The state needs to send just one person to EBONY and find all the rip offs the city employees and elected officials are bilking from the state and the government. His or her pay will be on a commission basis, what ever they find they get a certain percentage, and I bet within a year that person would be a millionaire. Corruption runs rampant through the city of EBONY. It's always ''all about me''.

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supersquawker 2 years, 7 months ago

coach is that the only playing card you got in your deck?

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 7 months ago

Its not a card...its a fact, did you even read what he wrote? Are you that blind? When a person stands up for themselves and its a racial issue...you think they are playing a race card...is that the only comeback you ever have. Its not a race card...its a truth card!

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 7 months ago

I also saw where you endorsed BJ Fletcher for Mayor.....she is a loser tonight because of people like you who are soo far RIGHT-WINGED until you hurt her chances....DOROTHY HUBBARD WON!!!!

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billybob 2 years, 7 months ago

She will never resign. People like this have no shame. They really don't. Resigning wouldn't even cross her mind.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 7 months ago

This certainly doesn't look good for Victor Edwards today since he is in the run off with Postell and Velvet is his sister. I just hope Postell wins and NOT Edwards.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 7 months ago

The Herald just happened to leave that fact out, but I think the voters need to know.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 7 months ago

And this situation has absolutely noting to do with Victor Edwards or the Ward 6 race. To do so would be nothing more than a cheap political stunt on election day.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 7 months ago

Still the voters need to know, Terry.

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wonderbread 2 years, 7 months ago

you got what you dreamed of but what I can't understand is the fact that usually "hate" on Postell?

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 7 months ago

So you changed your name again, Roger. LOL

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whattheheck 2 years, 7 months ago

I am not the slightest bit surprised by this revelation. And, she is a paid Girl Scout person as I recall which should also raise the brows of some in that organization's eyes. If the allegation and the position mentioned are correct, how can she remain a "leader" in either without bringing disgrace to both?

When word gets around that there is "free money" to be had and no one bothers to check, it is a given that such will occur. Any program under similar circumstances will have the exact same result. Sounds like for once Lloyd, who has never made my long list of notable public servants, did those who feed the public teat a real service. Thanks, Robert, we needed that!

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whodat 2 years, 7 months ago

wonder what she did to p*** him off, so that he wanted to "out" her. surely Riggins and Baker are not the only ones.

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supersquawker 2 years, 7 months ago

As long as the GBI is in the neighborhood, could we also have a quick peek at the Handicapped Parking sticker applicants because the only handicap I normally see is being FAT as PORKY PIG!!

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 7 months ago

Agree with you. Seems like more and more people have handicapped tags/stickers and they walk just fine into the store. I have also had it with people who park in spaces without documentation. I have started calling the police when I see it hoping they get hit with a ticket.

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waltspecht 2 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately the Handicapped sticker belongs to the vehicle. As has been pointed out to me many times. The vehicle, by code is what has the parking right. Now it may be morally wrong for someone who is not handicapped to use the vehicle and the space, but it is not Illegal. That or a bunch of Albany's finest have lied to me when I reported folks.

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Jacob 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe certain officials deserve special treatment. Perhaps they are not capable of making ethical decisions. Maybe we should feel sorry for them because they are morally inferior or intellectually dull, and deserve extra consideration. You know, like giving them a high paying job, even though they are not qualified and place 34th out o 37th.

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littleselma 2 years, 7 months ago

Jacob I believe what you are describing is affirmative action, which is what is wrong with our country now.

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TheBoss 2 years, 7 months ago

Robert Lloyd's job is the only thing in jeopardy.

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pissedoffandfullofanger 2 years, 7 months ago

Lets not convict Ms. Riggins before all the facts come out. Remeber due process....

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Jacob 2 years, 7 months ago

The irony of the situation is perfect. The police chief, who got his job with fake credentials, an online "degree", is investigating someone for fraud. All the while, the clown show is being led by a semi- literate, last place boss, who also did not possess the qualifications for his appointment. LOL Only in Albany..

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