Georgia Tech professors accused of double-dipping salaries

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ATLANTA - A husband and wife who brought millions of dollars in grant money to Georgia Tech have been identified as the two professors being investigated for collecting paychecks from the university after already accepting jobs at the University of Minnesota, according to university documents.

The Atlanta-based university turned over the names of François Sainfort and Julie Jacko to the Georgia attorney general's office, according to documents The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained through a state Open Records Act request.

An attorney for the couple told The Associated Press on Saturday that Georgia Tech was portraying the situation inaccurately, and that his clients welcome an "objective and professional review" by the attorney general's office.

The documents allege that Sainfort and Jacko double-billed their time to the institution and falsified travel reimbursement forms. So far, the university says it has identified about $100,000 in questionable spending, all from private funding sources.

Martin Goldberg, a Miami-based attorney, represents both Jacko and Sainfort.

"They are bewildered by Georgia Tech's actions this week," Goldberg told the AP. "Georgia Tech's portrayal of the situation raises a whole host of questions about the university's motives, once professors Jacko and Sainfort decided to leave Georgia Tech to join Minnesota."

Georgia Tech has started the tenure revocation process for the pair and the university previously said the state attorney general's office is investigating the case. Sainfort was associate dean of Georgia Tech's engineering college and head of the university's Health Systems Institute. Jacko taught in the school of biomedical engineering.

The two had been working at Georgia Tech since 2000 when they were lured away by the University of Minnesota in October. Georgia Tech has claimed it renewed Sainfort's contract in October and Jacko's contract in January without knowing the pair were employed elsewhere, according to the documents.

University of Minnesota spokeswoman Mary Koppel told the newspaper that the institution is "still trying to learn the facts on this." She said the university was "quite happy" to have recruited the pair, who are considered leaders in health science engineering.


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