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Trio of convicted Augusta politicians await release from prison

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In 2004 and for the next two years the indictment and conviction of three prominent politicians rocked the Augusta area. In a few years all three will be released from federal prisons.

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Former Georgia state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker is scheduled to be released in 2014, but in August a federal appeals court ruled to grant him a hearing.   Special/ALAN MOTHNER
Special/ALAN MOTHNER
Former Georgia state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker is scheduled to be released in 2014, but in August a federal appeals court ruled to grant him a hearing.

Linda Schrenko, Robin Williams and Charles W. Walker Sr. should complete their prison sentences on Aug. 29, 2013, July 20, 2014, and Sept. 26, 2014, respectively — except Walker could be out earlier if his current appeal suceeds.

Schrenko, now 62, was the first woman and the first Republican to hold a statewide political office in Georgia. She served as the state’s schools superintendent for eight years and then made a run for governor.

The 2002 gubernatorial race would lead to Schrenko’s downfall. She stole $600,000 in federal funds set aside for educational services for deaf children and those in the governor’s honors programs. With the help of her boyfriend, deputy and campaign manager, Merle Temple, 63, Schrenko funneled the money into her campaign.

Temple is scheduled to released from prison on Dec. 1, 2012. He is held in a medium-security federal prison in Talladega, Ala. Another associate, Richard Leonard, was sentenced to one year of probation and fined. South African businessman A. Stephan Botes, 54, is scheduled to be released in June 2013. According to his Prison Faces profile, Botes is in a federal prison in Safford, Ariz.

Williams, 49, served a decade in the state House of Representatives, building consensuses with Democrats like former Senate Majority Leader Walker. He lost his 2000 Republican primary election to political newcomer Sue Burmeister.

Williams schemed to steal more than $2 million from the local community mental health center, one of the only mental health facilities available for poor people. Williams worked behind the scenes to get his friend C. Michael Brockman put in charge of the center and together they directed lucrative contracts to Williams’ friends who in turned kicked back money to Williams. All were convicted at trial.

Brockman died of cancer before his six-year prison sentence began. M. Chad Long, 40, a lobbyist and grandson of state political heavyweight former House Speaker Tom Murphy, was released from federal custody in January 2008. Former Atlanta Braves pitcher and state lobbyist Rick L. Camp, 59, was released in March of 2008. And Augusta pharmacist Duncan Fordham, 57, was released in February 2009.

Like Williams, Walker is serving his prison sentenced at a medium-security prison in Estill, S.C. Walker, 63, was convicted of 127 felony charges related to various schemes. Walker paid $698,047 in restitution and another $200,000 in fines and court fees.

Walker is scheduled to be released in 2014, but his sentence could be reevaluated after an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Aug. 23 agreed with Walker’s assertion that his appellate counsel failed to argue that his sentence was an unreasonable upward departure from sentencing guidelines.

What ever happened to...

Have you ever wanted to know what became of a person or issue that once dominated the local news ?

The Augusta Chronicle provides answers to readers’ requests in its regular series, ‘What ever happened to…?’

Today, we update the status of three prominent Augusta politicians -- Linda Schrenko, Robin Williams and Charles Walker Sr. -- who were convicted of crimes in a three year period from 2004-2006.

Requests can be

e-mailed to mike.wynn@augustachronicle.com; mailed to The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA , 30903-1928, Attn: Mike Wynn; or placed in the online comment section at augustachronicle.com.

Comments (12) Add comment
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TrulyWorried
14271
Points
TrulyWorried 09/25/11 - 07:04 pm
0
0
Same old smile (same old

Same old smile (same old picture) wonder if he practices in front of the mirror, so he'll be ready for - - - - whatever

dougk
3
Points
dougk 09/25/11 - 07:12 pm
0
0
Didn't you see the pic of
Unpublished

Didn't you see the pic of Shrenko, TrulyWorried??

showboat
336
Points
showboat 09/25/11 - 08:38 pm
0
0
Wonder who is going to leave
Unpublished

Wonder who is going to leave a box @ Austin house when Walker get out? So that he can take the information to the F.B.I.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/25/11 - 09:31 pm
0
0
Didn't she get a face lift
Unpublished

Didn't she get a face lift with the money she stole?

Riverman1
84011
Points
Riverman1 09/26/11 - 02:54 am
0
0
I'd like to know the status

I'd like to know the status of Schrenko's state pension. Since she was the State Superintendent of Education and had been in education for over 30 years, she would ordinarily be eligible for a huge pension. Is it accumulating during her incarceration? Because she stole $600 thousand from the government, will that be paid back? I know federal pensions are stopped if a person serves over a year in prison, so, again, what is the status of her pension? It doesn't seem right that she could get out of prison a millionaire.

deb1953
36
Points
deb1953 09/26/11 - 08:54 am
0
0
Walker should serve his full

Walker should serve his full sentence and all of them should be denied their pensions and be banned from public office!

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 09/26/11 - 09:17 am
0
0
Some pensions' rules are at

Some pensions' rules are at the whim of the employer, but others are covered by federal ERISA rules. If Schrenko meets the eligibility requirements, then she is vested in the pension plan and would receive benefits.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/26/11 - 10:07 am
0
0
funny how the walker
Unpublished

funny how the walker conviction is the one everyone loves to talk about, but these other two, williams and schrenko- stealing from poor people and deaf kids, are quite horrible. i only ever hear them mentioned as proof that the system's fair, meaning, i guess republicans run the show and we should be grateful the got charged at all, but i never hear anger toward them or contempt.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 09/26/11 - 10:19 am
0
0
bsnm, maybe it's not anger or

bsnm, maybe it's not anger or contempt we need in either case, but a better understanding of human nature and the pitfalls that await.
My feelings towards Schrenko, Williams and Walker were that of disappointment. I don't think anyone approves of their behaviors. As to the comments, Walker just made it to the news first.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 09/26/11 - 11:45 am
0
0
Regardless of color, they are

Regardless of color, they are all crooks. I don't think any of them should be provided with a pension, unless every penny is paid back to all victims and the state. It is sad because all of them took money from kids, the underprivileged and handicapped people. They are all a bunch of worthless trash.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 09/26/11 - 12:06 pm
0
0
I do agree that they had

I do agree that they had crooked actions, they should pay back every penny, before receiving any government pensions, be barred from holding any public offices and from holding any jobs in any state or federal entities.

I don't believe they are worthless trash. All of them have the opportunity for a new beginning, if they are honest about their past and allow themselves to be changed. They have lost the ability to have trust though, with money or power.

Brad Owens
4434
Points
Brad Owens 09/26/11 - 01:18 pm
0
0
I happen to have liked them

I happen to have liked them all. Too bad they did what they did.

Maybe they will come out better people.

Rather
56
Points
Rather 09/26/11 - 02:02 pm
0
0
They are all a sleazy bunch

They are all a sleazy bunch of rascals, especially the "Sidewalk King" who thought he could get away with anything. If he gets out of prison it will be on a technicality.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/26/11 - 02:49 pm
0
0
I hope they do come out as

I hope they do come out as better people and do something productive for society; too bad we can't make it a condition of their release that they never can get involved anywhere near public money or influence.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 09/27/11 - 06:12 am
0
0
Too bad the system couldn't
Unpublished

Too bad the system couldn't put Bill Clinton and Charlie Rangel away. Both of these lying dirtbags sure deserved it.

Riverman1
84011
Points
Riverman1 09/27/11 - 07:11 am
0
0
I do think the government

I do think the government should at least garnish Schrenko's pension for the $600,000 that was stolen if not take everything from her. Her pension is more than likely over $100,000 a year and has been paid while she is in jail. She will be a multi-millionaire when she gets out.

The problem is the way the teachers' retirement fund is set-up it's privately owned. Still there has to be recourse against those who owe the government money and against convicted felons. You flat out lose a federal pension if you spend over a year in prison. I do wish the Chronicle would look into this issue.

hounddog
0
Points
hounddog 09/27/11 - 07:44 am
0
0
‘Too bad they did what they
Unpublished

‘Too bad they did what they did.’
Brad, We knew you were not going to say anything bad about your old buddy Walker. After all when he runs again you’ll be right in there with him. A person is judged by the company they keep.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 09/27/11 - 01:51 pm
0
0
Riverman1, There's a lot to

Riverman1,

There's a lot to be said for restitution- by Linda, Robin and Charles.

Have you consulted/Googled the Teachers Retirement System of GA?

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