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Riggins must wait a little longer for grand jury decision

Velvet Riggins

Velvet Riggins

ALBANY, Ga. — A Dougherty County grand jury reached a decision late Wednesday afternoon in the case of Dougherty County School Board member Velvet Riggins, but the indictments and no bills were returned after 5:30 p.m. and were immediately whisked downstairs and locked in the County Clerk's office.

Riggins, accused of two counts of falsifying free and reduced school lunch applications and one felony count of offense by a public official, will learn early today if she has been indicted.

"I was told that the grand jury determined that the case did not meet the three charges of malpractice, malfeasance and misfeasance," Riggins' attorney, Mark Brimberry, said. "We were never allowed into the grand jury room to make our presentation."

When asked if he felt confident that Riggins' case was in better shape than when the grand jury convened, Brimberry replied, "I absolutely feel better."

Southwest Georgia District Attorney Joe Mullholland, appointed to the case after Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards recused himself because he knows Riggins, said he did not know what decision had been made.

"The proposed presentments were put forth. The grand jury reached a decision," Mullholland said. "I have no idea if she (Riggins) was indicted or not. That's really all I know right now."

Edwards also said he did not know the results.

"The indictment folders were immediately taken by the bailiffs and locked in the clerk's office," Edwards said. "We'll find out when everybody else does in the morning."

Once the grand jury presentments are filed by the clerk, they then will become public knowledge.

Several witnesses were subpoenaed in the case, but only DCSS School Police Assistant Chief J.C. Phillips, who investigated the case, gave testimony.

"I think the grand jury discovered that Ms. Riggins was at all times qualified for free and reduced lunches," Brimberry said. "I think the grand jury also found that she didn't abuse her position as a School Board member. In other similar cases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (which administers the National School Lunch Program) has simply recommended that the money be paid back.

"I know this is frustrating for her to have to wait overnight, but she knows she did nothing wrong."

Riggins was arrested last December and is currently free on a $7,000 personal recognizance bond. She was scheduled to go before the grand jury early last month, but her case was delayed.

Her arrest came on the heels of three misdemeanor counts each of falsifying free or reduced school lunch applications brought against Morningside Elementary School Principal Gloria Baker and her husband John.

Baker was suspended by the Dougherty School Board for 15 days without pay.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 6 months ago

Have your reporters check to see if they're illegally parked in the Handicapped spaces during the proceedings. That would be par for the course.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years, 6 months ago

This might be something you can do Sister, I'm sure your PC needs a break. Your fingers must be tired.

The cat is out of the bag!!!

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 6 months ago

Do you ever make sense? And NO, I do NOT wanna be your friend, so don't ask.... EVER!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 6 months ago

Night Night, Velvet! Don't let the Bed Bugs Bite!! Don't let a few "Incompleted Forms" keep you awake!!! Hey we all make mistakes..........sometimes on Purpose!!!

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Support 2 years, 6 months ago

Digging Deeper: Free lunch audit

Posted: Nov 03, 2011 5:02 PM EDT Updated: Nov 08, 2011 10:38 AM EST By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA - The Dougherty County School System is preparing to audit the free and reduced-price lunch program looking for cheaters.

"If there are other people out there who have falsified their documents, now is the opportunity to go back and correct themselves, before the audit happen," said DCSS Assistant Chief J. C. Phillips.

Response: So when Ms. Riggins corrected her application for whatever reason Phillip indicted her. Low down dirty move Phillips.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 6 months ago

If peoples have been getting free lunches based on falsified documents for weeks or months, they should NOT be allowed to "amend their information" prior to the audit. Only Congress can do that.

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 6 months ago

Sister,you forgot Obama,he can do that to.I am almost scared to make remarks anymore,even tho it is my right.When it comes to a Vet.of 10 years can not say what is on his mine,then it is time to hush.These men and women fight for Our Country for years.And they take alot of putting down by people in office,for mistakes they make.But when someone does something like this,and gets away with it,kinda makes you wonder just what rights you have.But that goes with being part of knowing people in high places.And tell me i am wrong.I know some probley will.but when is the last time you know of anyone in any kind of leader position has been cought for something,and gotten away with it?Remember Alfred Lott,i kinda feel sorry for him,he ended up being the scapegoat for so many.When he left,alot of them should have followed.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 6 months ago

I read that yesterday. The Democrats are slowly taking our constitutional rights away. I can't imagine what another 4 years would be like under Obama. Very scary!

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years, 6 months ago

Them? They?

I read somewhere that registered voters, vote according to fact's and not negative speculation.

Nothing from nothing means no bill in criminal cases. Sadly, negative comments about them and they wont be considered in a court of law.

However, in the court of public opinion, we the majority feel positive about our schoool system including the strife that has come upon the system.

I tell my friends that postive always comes from negative.

Now can we be friends? Bubavet_rureel

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 6 months ago

Them.....you know...........The Perps

You feel positive about the strife that has come upon the system? You mean the strife that the employees have brought down upon the system, right?

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VietVet1 2 years, 6 months ago

Of course registered voters vote according to fact's - ask Turner Job Corps

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 6 months ago

Nothing positive is coming from this story even if she is not indicted because its a terrible accusation.

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VSU 2 years, 6 months ago

Well we know Da Corch is pulling for Velvet to be cleared of all charges, but then again, that should be of no surprise to anyone....but you are right coach, it's a terrible situation when a person making $90,000 a year is stealing lunch money more or less that should be from poor families making less than half of what she is making.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 6 months ago

man u crazy.....i could care less......If you do the crime, you gotta do the time.....sorry...that goes for everybody.....

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Clif 2 years, 6 months ago

Yawnnnn....anybody surprised? Business as usual in Albany..the more it changes, the more it stays the same....

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 6 months ago

We dont have the right to name names anymore.It could end us up in jail.Some people dont know the diffrence in Opinions, and Fact.Accusations are made everyday,against someone somewhere.Are they all innocent?No.Are we all to sit on our butts and watch Govt. take over our lives?"I was told that the grand jury determined that the case did not meet the three charges of malpractice, malfeasance and misfeasance," What about palin ole Theft? I am not saying this is what happened,i dont know.And we may never know,because things can be covered up.The main thing is the Children are being cheated!

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Outtahere 2 years, 6 months ago

I think the grand jury discovered that Ms. Riggins was at all times qualified for free and reduced lunches," Brimberry said.

Ummm, how is that?? To TRULY be qualified you have to have a low yearly income, which we all know she did not have. In fact, she makes more than twice the amount of yearly income needed to qualify and that's not including her husband's income.

The amount of entitlement showed here is substantial!! That money was for low income children to eat while at school; how in the world would she HONESTLY qualify? Did they change the guidelines to accomedate this situation?

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gradin78 2 years, 6 months ago

How is it that you qualify for reduced/free lunches and still be able to afford the bling, nice ride, clothes, and accessories? Seeing her on the news walking up the steps with her attorney all the while smiling and using her cell phone, she's not worried. Who is paying for her attorney? I don't think with the salary a teacher makes they would qualify for any reduced or free lunch, guess I'm wrong.

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MRKIA 2 years, 6 months ago

I DO BELIEVE RIGGINS AND BAKER ARE NOT SMILING NOW.

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waltspecht 2 years, 6 months ago

As to costs and funds. Look closely at who her Lawyer is. Thats a substantial investment walking beside her.

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alleebrin 2 years, 6 months ago

Mark Brimberry will say anything as long as she's paying him! It's the blind leading the blind and the taxpayers who are the losers!!

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