Friday, May 4, 2012
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ALBANY, Ga. — As expected, South Georgia Judical Circuit District Attorney Joe Mulholland has filed a report to Governor Nathan Deal's office in regard to the recent indictment of Dougherty County School Board member Velvet Riggins related to allegedly falsifying information on free or reduced school lunch applications.
The report, filed Thursday, states:
"Due to Ms. Riggins position as an elected official, pursuant to O.C.G.A § 45-5-6, the South Georgia District Attorney's office is notifying the Office of the Governor, Executive Council of the pending indictment against Ms. Riggins. While Ms. Riggins is not specifically charged in the current indictment with charges explicitly related to her performance or activities as a Dougherty County School Board member or with a violation of O.C.G.A § 45-11-4, the present charges are felonies and one count is tangentially related to her position with the Dougherty County School Board ...
"Therefore in an abundance of caution, the matter is being forwarded to your office for review and possible investigation by special commission."
Last week, a Dougherty grand jury handed down two felony counts against Riggins - theft by taking and public records fraud. Morningside Elementary Principal Gloria Baker was indicted on three felony counts - two theft by taking charges and public records fraud. Her husband, John Baker, is facing two felony counts: theft by taking and pubic records fraud.
All three were indicted on one misdemeanor count of providing false information to obtain free school meals for a child.
After reviewing the report, the governor has the option of forming an administrative tribunal consisting of State Attorney General Sam Olens and two of Riggins' peers — in this case school board members from other school districts — who will review her case and forward a nonbinding recommendation to Deal.
The governor then has the option of removing her from office until the charges are resolved.