December 26, 2013 9:20:45 AM
JACKSON -- Former Greenville Public School District superintendent Harvey Franklin must report to prison by Jan. 6 to begin serving more than six years in a federal bribery case related to a $1.4 million reading program for children.
Franklin pleaded guilty in August 2012. He was sentenced to 76 months on Nov. 13 for taking more than $270,000 in bribes in exchange for influencing the school board to use the reading program. He also was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the Department of Education.
Franklin's lawyer, Julie Ann Epps, filed a notice on Dec. 6 that they are appealing the case to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. She declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press.
Edna Goble, who owned Teach Them To Read in Conyers, Ga., pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, the same day her trial was to begin. Her reading program is called EDNA, for Early Detection Necessary Action. Prosecutors recommended house arrest for her.
Goble "paid kickbacks and bribes to Harvey Franklin in the form of paying off a loan on Franklin's automobile, paying for remodeling and home improvements for Franklin's personal home, paying the balance of Franklin's personal credit card account, and paying for college tuition on behalf of Franklin's children," according to court records.
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.
Franklin's previous lawyer, Lisa Ross, had asked for a lesser sentence, saying among other things that it wouldn't be fair for him to spend years in prison if Goble gets house arrest. But prosecutors said that even though he initially agreed to cooperate in the investigation, he later failed to disclose that he met with Goble in 2012 and told her that he would testify the money exchanged involved loans, not bribes.
Prosecutors said that would have hurt their case.