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Riggins, School Board in limbo

ALBANY, Ga. -- Gov. Nathan Deal removed Dougherty County School Board member Velvet Riggins from office last week, agreeing with an independent tribunal that her grand jury indictment in April on charges of filing false school lunch applications affected her ability to serve on the board.

In his executive order suspending Riggins, Deal specified that her seat would remain vacant "until the end of her term or the resolution of the charges, whichever comes first."

Riggins, however, is running unopposed in November's elections for the District 3 School Board seat and will retain her position unless she is convicted of the felony charges that have been filed against her.

Asked Monday when a possible trial date will take place, South Georgia Assistant District Attorney Heather Lainer said the date was yet to be determined.

"Ms. Riggins' attorney (Mark Brimberry) has filed several motions with Judge (Stephen) Goss, who has yet to set a motion hearing," Lanier said.

The timing of a trial matters because of Section 45-5-6 (i) of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, which reads:

"If a public official who is suspended from office under the provisions of this Code section is not first tried at the next regular or special term following the indictment, the suspension shall be terminated and the public official shall be reinstated to office. The public official shall not be reinstated under this subsection if he is not so tried based on a continuance granted upon a motion made only by the defendant."

"We are aware of the time constraints under the statute," Lanier said.

Riggins appeared before a three-member review commission appointed by the governor last month. That tribunal, consisting of two school board members from outside Dougherty County and an assistant state attorney general, recommended her removal from office until the charges were resolved.

The Albany Herald learned during a candidate interview with at-large School Board member Anita Williams-Brown last week that Dougherty School Board members wrote letters to the commission in regard to Riggins' nearly four-year tenure on the board. A source close to the School Board said that all six of the active board members and Superintendent Joshua Murfree each wrote a letter on the subject. Riggins hand-delivered those letters to the tribunal at the time of her interview.

Her suspension has also spawned a grassroots effort and an online petition to urge the governor to name former mayoral candidate and businesswoman B.J. Fletcher as an interim board member to fill Riggins' empty seat.

A spokesperson for the governor said Friday, however, that Deal had no plans to name a replacement to fill the seat.

Comments

FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

Where is all the spawning taking place? I want to support B. J. or any capable person running against this rogue. Throw the rascals out!

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waltspecht 2 years, 1 month ago

So, are we to conclude legal maneuvering will get Riggins reinstated by simple delay tactics? I for one can't help but wonder at how this whole mess is playing out. Almost as if it is being orchastrated. No wonder she is shown smiling all the time.

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davidr 2 years, 1 month ago

have I not been telling you people that see will get away with it and see will get her job back?

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years, 1 month ago

Right to speedy trial 6th amendment. The standards to get a conviction are very high, the probable is very low, the Intent of the mindset of a person has to be there for a crime to have been committed.

We have faith in Riggins, In fact, the system has a great group of individuals in place, join me in giving them a chance to make the improvements needed.

The hidden agenda will not work, you have to do things the right way. the constitution will prevail.

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FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

Speedy trial not withstanding, you are assuming the mass of citizens are hoodwinked by the suppression of the ruling nest of corrupt rogues. Many are not. Remember Old Abe's admonition that you cannot fool all the people all the time. Riggins has proven herself unworthy of public trust. She jumped at fool's gold at its first glimmer. She along with Bush, #34, Griffin, Brown-W, have set an agenda for a wholesale disembowelment of the funds which provide critical services needed for deserving students and families. It is transparent from the outset with Bush's battlecry to hire someone that will take orders. The act of stealing from the F&R lunch program reverberates in the Kingdom, "don't do any harm to the least of these." His judgement is at hand.

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davidr 2 years, 1 month ago

so in other words you want her found innocent of all charges, and to get her job back. even though see steals from the state of GA. and she stole from the city of albany ga. and not to mention stealing from the tax payers of albany ga.

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FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

Riggins is a part of an agenda by a ruling nest of incestuous corrupt rogues at DCSS bent on taking the funds from programs which support critical needs for students and families served in Dougherty schools. The pattern of corruption of the ruling rogues is clear. They are targeting the poor children and families because the rogues believe they are gullible and know no difference. The rogues also know that in their immediate communities the voices of reason will be silenced and by default will serve in complicity with their hidden agenda of self-service. Velvet Riggins intent of dishonesty, fraud and deceit are abundantly clear as well as her assumption that her constituency will never rise up against her as it is being well suppressed.

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RedEric 2 years, 1 month ago

When,not if, they finally have the trial, she will be convicted. She filled out the papers to get free lunches. She stole federal government money. Any activity between now and the trial may be used against her. She better be careful. i.e. if she knows the difference between legal and illegal she better be on the legal side of everything she does from now on. The trial may not and should not be held here. She will most likely get voted back on the board (money wagon) , but that could be held against her, depending on what she does. This is going to be fun!!

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FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

I would like to know who is paying for Riggins' attorney. The Brimberry firm doesn't work cheap because they are good and have a history of getting off public officials. I doubt seriously they are working pro bono in a high profile case like Riggins. As with all capable lawyers when the cock crows the meter starts running on some client. I'll bet she wishes she had just paid for the lunches now. With all corrupt greedy people they just can't resist a shiny coin. My great friend of 95 says to me, "she can resist anything but temptation."

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 1 month ago

I never thought of that, does she have a defense fund? Who is donating to it?

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straightface 2 years, 1 month ago

YOU ARE NOT PAYING FOR IT S WHY IS IT ANY OF YOUR CONCERN ANYWAY

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Citizen_A 2 years, 1 month ago

As it has been said recently in the National news...when you are elected to a public office it is expected that you answer to your public. It just seems funny that someone who felt that they couldn't afford to pay school lunches, has a high profile lawyer...one of those things that makes you go hummmm....

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Albanite 2 years, 1 month ago

Hey Albany Herald - why not put that crack team of investigative reporters on the trail and lets see who is paying for her defense fund. After her history on the board, along with ongoing discoveries of misappropriations, it may well be paid for with DCSS funds. We, the people, have the right to make sure that it isn't.

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Trustbuster 2 years, 1 month ago

I would like BJ to replace Velvet. Everyone should encourage her to step forward or someone like her caliber.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 1 month ago

I dont think she lives in district 3.

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FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

Let's use the Freddie Powell Sims method and rent an apartment or trailer for BJ in district 3.

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FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

Not as much of a mistake as having that rogue Velvet Riggins run un-opposed.

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Citizen1 2 years, 1 month ago

Yes, to correct a wrong with a wrong is a mistake!

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 1 month ago

She doesn't live in Lee Co. She lives in Albany. Get your facts "straight".

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Citizen1 2 years, 1 month ago

If she lives in Lee County why are people suggesting she get on the Dougherty School Board? Why did she run for Mayor of Albany?

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 1 month ago

straightface just showed his/her intelligence...

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straightface 2 years, 1 month ago

I told you people God will restore all..... you treat people right and God steps in and restores and fixes the situation.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 1 month ago

"you people" ?? That's racist.

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rightasrain 2 years, 1 month ago

The character of the School Board members as well as Murfree is definitely revealed by their writing letters of support for Riggins; criminals always stand up for each other and the DCSB is no different. It seems that the first qualification for any office in Albany/DoCo is that you either have a criminal background or mentality; when you have that, "the world is your oyster".

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 1 month ago

My source stressed that not all of the letters were "letters of support," but more describing her performance as a board member. They were not form letters.

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MRKIA 2 years, 1 month ago

AND RIGGINS HAND DELIVERED THESE LETTERS TO THE TRIBUNAL, EVEN THE ONES NOT SUPPORTING HER?

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 1 month ago

I don't know why Terry said anything about the petition since it is a moot issue now. We got our answer from the Governor's office last Friday so it is a dead issue.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 1 month ago

The point was to show there are many layers to this onion.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 1 month ago

But it is moot and now it is stirring up all kinds of rumors about BJ. The issue should have died last Friday when we got confirmation from the Governor's Office.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 1 month ago

Then I suggest you take down the currently active petition at change.org.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 1 month ago

I can do what I want with it since I am the creator of it. There is nothing like a Herald reporter to publish a story without asking first or coming straight to the source, which in this case, would be me. I am tired of you Herald reporters slamming what I do. Biased reporting at it's best!!

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Progressive 2 years, 1 month ago

It is baffling to hear someone still wanting to support a dishonest School Board member. Her "intent" was to take funds that her family was not entitled to, and her "intent" was not to get caught. Why would the investigators recommend Velvet Riggin's indictment, and then also have a panel of her peers recommend removal, and then have the governor remove her from this position? The evidence must be there, or this would not happen. Only fools would continue to support this corrupt behavior!

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MRKIA 2 years, 1 month ago

D.A. MULLHOLLAND IS NOT GHOING TO JUMP IN BED WITH THIS CREW. THE CHARGES ARE NOT GOING TO BE DROPPED OR REDUCED. THE STATE SHOULD BE READY FOR TRIAL SO LET BRIMBERRY ASK FOR A CONTINUANCE AND VELVET REMAINS SUSPENDED. OTHERWISE GO TO TRIAL AND LET THE CHIPS FALL. ANY PLEA AGREEMENT SHOULD INCLUDE PERMANENT REMOVAL FROM PUBLIC OFFICE.

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Cartman 2 years, 1 month ago

I see a Jury Nullification issue in our future. Bubbavet_rereel will be right; but not for the reasons he states.

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straightface 2 years, 1 month ago

dEAL KNOWS THE TRUTH THATS WHY HE IS LETTING HER KEEP HER SEAT SILENTLY AND NOT ALLOWING ANYONE ELSE TO RESIDE IN IT.. NeXT TOPIC!

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 1 month ago

No, Deal is only following the law. Another misconception by you.

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TheBoss 2 years, 1 month ago

Velvet is waiting till after the election for her trial. That way her mother (Edwards) can be appointed to Velvet's seat if she is guilty, cause Muralean Edwards will not win a run for the State Seat.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 1 month ago

You might just be on to something there.

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MRKIA 2 years, 1 month ago

THIS CASE WILL BE OVER BEFORE NOVEMBER UNLESS BRIMBERRY ASKS FOR A CONTINUANCE, WHICH WILL KEEP HER OFF THE BOARD. THIS IS NOT A COMPLEX CASE SO THE STATE SHOULD BE READY TO GO THIS TERM. VELVET IS NOT GOING TO SLIP BACK TO A SEAT ON THE BOARD. SHE SHOULD BE RUSHING TO VINDICATION.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 1 month ago

BVR once again you are saying things that are not true!!!!! “The hidden agenda will not work, you have to do things the right way. the constitution will prevail.”

Hidden agenda will not work, you have to do things the right way! Sure looks like someone’s “Hidden Agenda” has been voiced as the “Right Way”….It is our right as a Reparations Protest to lie, cheat and steal because we did not get Reparation so we will punish them when and where we can, the “NBFSN”.

The Constitution will prevail! Well not much hope for that either if your Prez keeps making his own laws.

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Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

Albany has become nothing but crooks, crack heads, scammers, thieves, robbers, muggers, thugs, gangs, druggies, corrupt and dependent on goverment programs.

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Citizen1 2 years, 1 month ago

Not all Albany, there are very good people living in this city. You pay too much attention to the few making the news. I am amazed at your comment. Shame on YOU!!!!

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