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THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007

Community college to halt pay for 4 charged employees

MOBILE (AP) — Four Bishop State Community College employees on paid leave after criminal charges were filed against them in a financial aid theft probe will lose their paychecks May 31 — a move likely to be challenged in court.

College officials plan to halt pay for:

  • Emma Perkins, an alumni affairs secretary charged in October with stealing $68,967 in financial aid. Perkins' salary is $42,058 per year.

  • Elston Turner, a women's basketball coach charged in January with stealing $15,806 in financial aid and sports program money. Turner's salary is $54,291 per year if he doesn't work during the summer.

  • Marlene French, a cashier in the business office charged in September and again in October with financial aid thefts totaling nearly $23,000. French's salary is $27,874 per year.

  • Charlotte Powe, an office administration instructor charged in October with stealing more than $22,000 in financial aid. Powe's salary is $56,795 per year, if she doesn't work over the summer.

    Lawyers for Perkins and Turner told the Press-Register for a story Wednesday they will take legal action to keep them on the payroll.

    27 charged

    The Mobile County district attorney has charged 27 people with the theft of more than $200,000 in financial aid and sports program money from the college.

    Perkins, Turner, French and Powe were among the first 13 people charged in the probe.

    Thirteen additional college employees were among 14 people charged this month with financial aid theft. All criminally charged employees have been placed on paid leave.

    Raymond L. Bell Jr., an attorney for Perkins, said that though the 13 employees charged this month have yet to receive notice that the college was stopping their pay, he thinks those employees likely will.

    "I assume they would, because they were sending them across the board to the people in the first round" of arrests, said Bell, who also represents Zulieka Frazier, charged this month with stealing $6,206 in aid.

    College spokesman Herb Jordan said the college has not yet moved to fire the 13 employees charged most recently, or to stop their pay.

    He added that he does not know if the college will take such action.

    "That's the president's call," Jordan said.

    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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