Across the region



Faction will appeal for SCLC leadership

ATLANTA --- A faction that lost a lawsuit over who should lead the civil rights group co-founded by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. filed an appeal Monday, accusing rival board members of "hijacking" the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Several leaders from the SCLC -- including ousted Treasurer Spiver Gordon -- gathered at a church in southwest Atlanta to announce the appeal of a Sept. 1 ruling by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alford Dempsey.

The ruling in effect placed control of the group with a faction siding with King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, who was elected last October as its leader.

Gordon maintained his innocence, speaking for the first time publicly since his ouster over accusations he and Chairman Raleigh Trammell mismanaged at least $569,000 of the group's money.

District attorneys rally behind candidate

ATLANTA --- A bipartisan group of district attorneys offered personal endorsements Monday for Democrat Ken Hodges' election as attorney general, but his Republican opponent, Sam Olens, said the endorsements just reflect professional contacts.

Hodges, the district attorney in Albany for 12 years, rose to head both the District Attorneys Association and the Prosecuting Attorneys Council and now counts 30 of the 49 district attorneys in the state as backing him.

Six of them attended a news conference outside the Capitol to talk about Hodges, who said they were supporting him because he had been one of them.

"We want someone who's battle-tested," said Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard, Democrat. "I don't want someone who just showed up as a prosecutor, but someone like Ken who was a good one."

Questioning begins in test-cheating scandal

ATLANTA --- State investigators began questioning teachers Monday after the governor ordered the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to help a probe into possible cheating on standardized tests at schools in Atlanta and Dougherty County.

Gov. Sonny Perdue took the action in August, weeks after he appointed former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and ex-DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson to review whether teachers changed students' tests. Perdue said he was disappointed in the "woefully inadequate" internal reviews conducted by the districts following a statewide probe that showed an unusually high number of erased answers on first- through eighth-grade standardized tests taken in spring 2009.


Sheheen reports funds for end of campaign

COLUMBIA --- Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheheen has more than $534,000 in cash on hand for the final two weeks of his campaign.

Sheheen's campaign finance report, filed Monday, also shows he raised $1.8 million between July and Oct. 15.

Sheheen and Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley are in the final stretch of their campaigns for governor and spending heavily on television ads.

Haley had not filed her official report by 6 p.m. Monday with the State Ethics Commission. She sent out a news release saying she had raised more than $2 million.

In other news

SOUTH CAROLINA'S attorney general, Henry McMaster, will be fined $100 for not filing his campaign finance reports on time. Brad Henry, who handled McMaster's filings for his governor bid, said there was confusion about when the filing was due.