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Attorney to look into lunch situations

ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County School Board on Monday unanimously hired Macon attorney James Fleissner to look into a free or reduced school lunch scandal that has rocked the system.

“Jim is an excellent attorney and his resume is impeccable,” BOE chairman James Bush said. “He’s going to tell us what information we can obtain from our applications.”

Fleissner’s hiring was prompted by two incidents of alleged school lunch fraud involving school principal Gloria Baker and School Board member Velvet Riggins.

In October, Baker, the principal at Morningside Elementary, and her husband, John, were each booked on three misdemeanor counts of falsifying information on lunch applications.

The School Board board suspended Baker for 15 days without pay.

In December, Riggins was charged with two misdemeanor counts of falsifying information and one felony count of Offense by a Public Officials.

Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards recused himself from Riggins’ case and appointed South Georgia District DA Joe Mullholland as a special prosecutor.

The cases against the Bakers and Riggins are still pending.

The next BOE meeting will be held Jan. 25 at 12:30 p.m. at Magnolia Elementary School.

Comments

reb_arty1863 2 years, 3 months ago

It took this long to get an investigator hired. If private business operated as ignorantly as government there would be nothing generating profits except bankrupcy courts. This is THEFT!!! Why is not the D.A. investigating??????

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rock 2 years, 3 months ago

It is good that Mr. Edwards recused himself and his office from these. It will now stop any rumors of him covering up or impropriety. He is friends with Riggins and any investigation done by Mr. Edwards or his office is suspect. Good on Him for appointing someone else. Now, let's get the cheaters and stealers...

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 3 months ago

What gets me about Albany is that if someone in high places(Mayor,City ATT,DA,And even the school lunch stuff) why cant the people who have this job to defend Albany's peoples cant do there jobs.If you go up against anyone that has power here,no one that has the job to take on the matter does it because of conflicts of intrest.When you were hired for your job,you took a oath to us the People of Albany.You get paid to protect us from wrong doings.Yet so many of you,Judges,City Att,DA,Mayor,all say they cant becuase of conflict of intrest.You were hired by us the People.Not your freinds.Not your co workers.If you cant do the job you were hired for,then why in the hell are we paying you?And then people wonder why when someone has a problem with Albany leaders they go out of town to get a lawyer.Not to many here will fight for your rights,just the rights of the leaders.Or they say conflict of intrest.Do your jobs.Let the good ole boy system fight for there selfs for a change.They get in these messes all by there selfs.If you can not tell right from wrong in Law,then why do we need you?

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dingleberry 2 years, 3 months ago

For the life of me, I cannot understand the "confusion" on who can do what when it comes to looking at lunch fraud. Let's cut to the chase. If our local "leaders" officially ask the USDA to look at it, no pussy-footing around with hints, and they refuse despite the evidence surfaced locally, it is time to ask for Congressional intervention. Write your Senators and insist an investigation be made citing and enclosing newspaper reports on the issue. This type fraud is being done elsewhere making it a national issue they should have an interest in. If they are not interested, let them tell us why so we can publicize the answer and start to look for their replacement. Congress has the resources to make it happen. And with significant public pressure, will likely do so.

However, don't waste time on Sanford Bishop. He is totally ineffective and worthless in this or any other regard.

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waltspecht 2 years, 3 months ago

Please listen to what is being said. The USDA and the State both say it doesn't involve enough funds to warrent investigative costs. They do not verify the applicants because there is insufficient funding to do so. Earlier it was stated that the DCSS Lawyer said only the State or USDA could access those accounts and documentation. To put it all in plain English no one wants to uncover the extent of this problem that really could uncover it. So what they are saying Don't ask for an audit and we won't tell you how bad off you are.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

The USDA has a specific rule that prohibits "over verification" of applications. They treat the 3% or 3,000 as the golden rule. Bottom line is that the USDA is not interested in investigating fraud in the NSLP because they know that the results would likely top more than 50% of applicants. They way the feds look at it is that they are feeding hungry children.

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dingleberry 2 years, 3 months ago

The USDA rule on verification is certainly front end, not once fraud is established. Agree USDA does not want to look at it because their objective is to redistribute wealth and DCSS likes to get wealth to distribute. It would be one thing if we were feeding only hungry children. However, they are feeding the children of both thieves and voters who are proponents of things free for themselves.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 3 months ago

I guess this tells all who read it that it's okay to fill out and lie on the forms to get free lunch cause there are no funds to verify the applicants???

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 3 months ago

A cynical person (like myself for example) would say that the Feds (primarily Democrats in this case) are using this money to BUY VOTES. The fact that hungry children are being fed, (despite the assumption that potentially half of those kids are from households with incomes more than adequate to meet the responsibility of feeding their own kids) just helps them sleep better at night. Hence they have no interest in investigating and potentially losing votes in the process of eliminating fraud.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

It's a sticky wicket for sure and a $9 billion a year federal entitlement program. The NSLP pumped more than $8 million into DCSS coffers last year. So, tell me where is the incentive to root out fraud?

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waltspecht 2 years, 3 months ago

Darn Terry, your starting to souynd like Ruby and I.

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Cartman 2 years, 3 months ago

Stop free lunches. Problem solved.

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LuLu 2 years, 3 months ago

Exactly. If they qualify for free lunches, then wouldn't they also qualify for foodstamps? If they are receiving foodstamps, then that should take care of all their meals.

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dingleberry 2 years, 3 months ago

Correct, Lu. However, the food stamp crowd never gets enough money--just ask them. However, if you have seen any of the EBT receipts thrown on the ground in Wal-mart's parking lot, not hard to find, you will see there is a never ending need for snack and drink money. There are no Paula Deans in this crowd trying to buy "good" food to cook and feed. Helps explain a lot of the fat kids running around these days.

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TheBoss 2 years, 3 months ago

Most of the food is dumped into trash or food service workers take it home at the end of the day.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Or provide free lunches to all students in addition to the free breakfast. The free lunch program will never be eliminated.

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