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Ex-school superintendent cannot meet restitution payment

Money in handGREENVILLE — The former superintendent of a school district in the Mississippi Delta convicted in federal bribery case says he can’t make a $75,000 mid-January restitution payment ordered by a judge.

Former Greenville Public School District superintendent Harvey Franklin was sentenced to 76 months this month for taking more than $270,000 in bribes to influence the school board to use a reading program for children. He also was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the U.S. Department of Education — with the first $75,000 due in mid-January.

The Delta Democrat Times reports that Franklin’s attorney, Lisa Ross, filed a motion on Nov. 21 asking U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock for another review of Franklin’s assets. Franklin hasn’t been employed since he resigned as superintendent in May 2012.

Ross says Franklin’s available assets have been all but depleted.

After Franklin pleaded guilty in August 2012, probation officers completed a financial analysis and concluded he had “more than $90,000 in liquid assets.”

“While the information contained in the financial analysis completed by the probation office was true and correct at the time it was prepared, the information about Franklin’s financial circumstances was outdated and no longer accurate when Franklin was sentenced,” Ross said in the motion.

Franklin does, however, receive retirement benefits from the State of Georgia, but those payments were used “to provide for his family while awaiting sentencing,” Ross wrote.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in a response filed Wednesday opposing the motion, said Franklin “did not object to the financial information included in his pre-sentence report or make any indication that the information was outdated or inaccurate.”

The school district, at Franklin’s behest, paid $1.4 million to use Edna Goble’s company, Teach Them To Read. Goble, of Conyers, Ga., paid Franklin kickbacks that he used to pay for home improvements, his children’s college tuition and automobile loans.

Goble, who reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, awaits a sentencing date. Prosecutors have asked that she be sentenced to six months house arrest for her role in the case. Goble pleaded guilty Oct. 7.

Franklin’s attorneys also filed a notice Friday that they are appealing his sentence to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

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