Professor warned by school

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ATLANTA --- At least one of two Georgia Tech professors being investigated for fraud and theft was warned by his boss months ago that he was in danger of running afoul of university policy, according to documents released Monday.

But that e-mail now reads like a prediction for Francois Sainfort and Julie Jacko, a husband and wife who brought millions in grant money to Georgia Tech. The pair is being investigated by the state attorney general's office after the university turned over documents alleging Mr. Sainfort and Ms. Jacko continued to collect paychecks from Georgia Tech after accepting jobs at the University of Minnesota.

Georgia Tech associate engineering dean John Leonard wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Sainfort that the transition from Atlanta to Minnesota "may be subject to later examination, so it is important that all pieces fit together cleanly the first time."

The e-mail was sent sometime before a Feb. 11 response from Mr. Sainfort, which is the only date available in investigation and personnel documents released to The Associated Press under an open records request.

In the documents, university officials allege Mr. Sainfort and Ms. Jacko flew between Minnesota and Atlanta at Georgia Tech's expense and collected thousands of dollars in pay when they were supposed to be on unpaid leave. University officials say they have identified nearly $100,000 in questionable spending by the duo so far.

Martin Goldberg, a Miami-based attorney for Mr. Sainfort and Ms. Jacko, called the university's accusations "not accurate and not complete." He has said the situation also raises questions about the university's motives since the professors were lured away by Minnesota.

"Both professors are devastated and bewildered by Georgia Tech's actions," he said. "We're looking forward to a professional and objective review by the attorney general's office in Atlanta."

Russ Willard, a spokesman for Attorney General Thurbert Baker, declined comment.

University of Minnesota general counsel Mark Rotenberg said university officials are also looking into the allegations against Mr. Sainfort and Ms. Jacko.

The pair signed contracts with Minnesota last fall after being recruited by the university, Mr. Rotenberg said.

"These are two very highly regarded faculty members," he said. "We will try to piece this together in regard to whether something serious has indeed happened here in regard to so-called double-dipping. At this time, however, we at the University of Minnesota are in no position to make any definitive statement about these allegations."


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