GREENVILLE — A federal appeals court has been asked by a former Mississippi school superintendent to review a requirement that he make a $75,000 lump sum restitution payment in a bribery case.
Former Greenville schools superintendent Harvey Franklin is serving a 76-month sentence 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 — the first $75,000 was due in mid-January 2014.
Franklin’s attorney had argued to U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock in Aberdeen that Franklin’s assets, saying they have been all but depleted. Aycock ruled in December that Franklin had the ability to pay the $75,000
Franklin tells the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he cannot. The 5th Circuit will hear arguments in the case on Dec. 2 in New Orleans.
Franklin’s attorney writes in briefs that the depletion of Franklin’s funds is largely due to expenses related to the bribery case and medical expenses. Franklin also argued the reading program did provide something of value to the Greenville schools and that should be deducted from his restitution.
Federal prosecutors said there was no error in the amount of restitution and the judge’s order for an immediate $75,000 payment was within Aycock’s discretion.
Prosecutors also said Franklin did not object to the financial statement that accompanied his pre-sentence report to the judge.
Edna Goble, who owned Teach Them To Read in Conyers, Georgia, was sentenced in June to conspiracy to commit bribery. She is serving a 30-month sentence. She was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution
Her reading program is called EDNA, for Early Detection Necessary Action.
Authorities say Goble paid bribes to Franklin for him to influence the school board to use the $1.4 million reading program.
Franklin, who became superintendent in Greenville in 2009, resigned in May 2012 after he came under scrutiny in the federal investigation. He pleaded guilty in August 2012.
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