Where are they now? Convicted officials have served a third of prison terms

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Once considered three of the most influential politicians from Augusta, if not in the state, Charles Walker, Linda Schrenko and Robin Williams are now finishing up the first third of their federal prison sentences.

Sandy Hodson
Database Reporter
E-mail | 706-823-3226

Each is currently residing in a federal minimum security prison. Mr. Williams, a former state representative, was sent off in September 2005. He was followed shortly thereafter by Mr. Walker, a former state Senate Majority Leader, in November of the same year. Ms. Schrenko, a former state school superintendent, was imprisoned nearly a year later in July 2006.

Their falls from grace, particularly that of Mr. Walker and Ms. Schrenko, cost Augusta political muscle it has yet to regain. Here's a look at where they are now and when they are expected to be released from prison. Although there is no parole in the federal system, prisoners usually are released to halfway houses at least six months before sentences expire.

LINDA SCHRENKO, 59

The former state schools superintendent who made an unsuccessful bid for the governor's seat is scheduled to be released from prison on Aug. 29, 2013. Ms. Schrenko taught school in Columbia County before becoming the first woman and first Republican to hold the statewide office for eight years.

Ms. Schrenko pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering for stealing $600,000 in federal funds intended for educational services for deaf children and those in the governor's honors program. She was funneling the money to her gubernatorial race.

Ms. Schrenko is serving her time in Coleman Correctional Institute, a minimum security facility in central Florida.

Her associates in the scheme: campaign manager Richard Leonard was sentenced to one year of probation and fined $3,000; her assistant superintendent Merle Temple will remain at the Federal Correctional Institution in Edgefield, S.C., until Oct. 24, 2013; and South African businessman A. Stephan Botes is scheduled to be released from the federal prison in Post, Texas, on June 2, 2013.


CHARLES W. WALKER, 60

The former Georgia Senate Majority Leader is scheduled to complete his sentence Sept. 26, 2014.

Mr. Walker spent two decades in state politics, becoming the most powerful senator in government. A sharecropper's son, Mr. Walker became a millionaire businessman with more than 1,600 employees, according to reports in The Augusta Chronicle.

Mr. Walker lost his seat in the 2002 voter uprising against Democratic office holders, but won it back four years later.

Mr. Walker was convicted of 127 felony charges committed in various schemes to line his pockets with other people's money. Mr. Walker used his position as a political and civic leader to cheat advertisers for his Augusta Focus newspaper, two public hospitals, campaign contributors, and the CSRA Classic charity event he founded. In addition to $200,000 in fines and court fees, Mr. Walker paid $698,047 in restitution.

Mr. Walker is currently being moved from one prison to another, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Web site. He was in the Estill, S.C., federal prison.


ROBIN WILLIAMS, 46

The former lawmaker is scheduled to be released July 20, 2014.

Mr. Williams spent a decade in the state House of Representatives. He positioned himself into leadership roles by building consensus with Democrats. He outran several questionable incidents, but in 2000, a political newcomer, Sue Burmeister, beat him. Mr. Williams ran for Augusta mayor two years later but didn't make it past the primary.

He was convicted in 2005 of schemes that bilked more than $2 million from the former Community Mental Health Center of East Central Georgia.

His associates in the schemes who were also convicted: C. Michael Brockman was sentenced to serve six years but died in February 2006; pharmacist Duncan Fordham is scheduled to be released from the Federal Prison at Maxwell Air Force Base on March 1, 2009; lobbyist and former Atlanta Braves pitcher Rick Camp was released from prison March 28; and lobbyist M. Chad Long was released Jan. 11.

Mr. Williams is also listed as being between prisons. He started his prison sentence in Estill.

Comments (44) Add comment
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pofwe
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pofwe 08/06/08 - 04:43 am
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Thanks for the update. Take

Thanks for the update. Take me off the visitors roster.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 08/06/08 - 05:00 am
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Abuse of power seems to be

Abuse of power seems to be the rule instead of the exception with most politicians. These three are reaping what they sowed.

Dixieman
18767
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Dixieman 08/06/08 - 05:24 am
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Subtitle: "Why being a

Subtitle: "Why being a Libertarian makes sense".

Grateful Augustan
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Grateful Augustan 08/06/08 - 05:32 am
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THANKS pofwe i just blew my

THANKS pofwe i just blew my coffee all over the puter screen. LOL

WISE-OLE-OWL
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WISE-OLE-OWL 08/06/08 - 05:47 am
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The wheels of justice grind

The wheels of justice grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine.

devilishlymad67
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devilishlymad67 08/06/08 - 06:28 am
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some of these should never be

some of these should never be allowed to see the light of freedom again.

426Hemi
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426Hemi 08/06/08 - 06:32 am
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Can't wait 'til they get out

Can't wait 'til they get out of jail. Then maybe Augusta will regain its "political Muscle."

Reality
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Reality 08/06/08 - 06:33 am
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Jail is jail but minimum

Jail is jail but minimum security has got to be easy time to pull....

Reality
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Reality 08/06/08 - 06:35 am
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You can bet that there are

You can bet that there are people that would vote for Charles Walker again...They did when they knew he was going to jail and cost the tax payers a lot of money for re election.

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 08/06/08 - 06:42 am
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Why did you single out

Why did you single out Charles Walker? I guess it's okay to vote for Williams and Schrenko?

Brad Owens
5068
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Brad Owens 08/06/08 - 06:46 am
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At least Augusta didn't have

At least Augusta didn't have things like MCG moving to Athens or a loss of State funds while Senator Walker was in office. I kinda miss the Good Ol' Days of the Democratic Majority and the Connell/Walker/Williams trio for Richmond County.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 08/06/08 - 06:56 am
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I don't like the term
Unpublished

I don't like the term "political muscle". Sandy Hodson should have used different terms. I like the article though, I always wondered if big shots like Schrenko and Williams actually went to jail. Nice update.

I4PUTT
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I4PUTT 08/06/08 - 07:05 am
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With the others there was

With the others there was speculation and rumor but, Linda Schrenko caught me by surprise. Perhaps Robin is young enough he can get his Mork & Mindy act back on tne road...Nano, nano....

christian134
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christian134 08/06/08 - 07:08 am
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I believe Reality was

I believe Reality was referring to the fact that Walker had been under investigation in fact was indicted(all 142 counts) all the while running for the office of Senator and won...Pretty sensational and really is a tad dumb to maintain support of this person all the while knowing how guilty he was...The other two were justly convicted and now serving time as they deserve....

Ga Values
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Ga Values 08/06/08 - 07:14 am
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Only 3 in jail, it's a start

Only 3 in jail, it's a start but a poor start.

Uncle Remus
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Uncle Remus 08/06/08 - 07:15 am
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What last name is LINDA

What last name is LINDA SCHRENKO useing now?

kneejackingreactions
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kneejackingreactions 08/06/08 - 07:16 am
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Why do you have a problem

Why do you have a problem with someone mentioning cw, firefighter, after all, he was voted back into office with 140 something indictments hanging over his head. What part of that don't you understand?

kneejackingreactions
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kneejackingreactions 08/06/08 - 07:18 am
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You are right reality,

You are right reality, minimum security federal prisons are not called country clubs for nothing.

Tim Walters
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Tim Walters 08/06/08 - 07:40 am
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It is a shame that these

It is a shame that these great People are in jail. Just look at all the things they brought to Augusta and they were still able to Raise themselves above everyone else.

kneejackingreactions
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kneejackingreactions 08/06/08 - 07:44 am
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Tim, what????

Tim, what????

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 08/06/08 - 08:03 am
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KneeJACK, what part of KMA

KneeJACK, what part of KMA don't you understand?

Bored in GA
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Bored in GA 08/06/08 - 08:13 am
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God Bless and Keep Duncan

God Bless and Keep Duncan Fordham and give him a speedy out! He unlike some of the others just got caught up with the politician! He was a true and good man!

stillamazed
1489
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stillamazed 08/06/08 - 08:32 am
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I think Tim is trying to

I think Tim is trying to start something or lost his mind, one or the other. They all are getting what they deserve only in a cushy way, probably something like a dorm room environment. After being convicted of a Federal crime I would think that none of them could hold any public office again.

stampman79
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stampman79 08/06/08 - 08:45 am
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If Obama wins this fall,

If Obama wins this fall, Walker will probably get a pardon and be back to his old tricks, and people will be stupid enough to vote him back into office.

hobo
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hobo 08/06/08 - 08:47 am
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While I do not condone what

While I do not condone what Charles Walker did I will say that he did a great deal for the augusta area and the Medical college of georgia. If he were still in office there would be no talk about moving the medical college to Athens.

Reality
3
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Reality 08/06/08 - 08:50 am
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Is Marion Berry still mayor

Is Marion Berry still mayor of DC? He went back to work after serving his time...

MJDW
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MJDW 08/06/08 - 08:51 am
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Firefighterhamer, Williams

Firefighterhamer, Williams and Schrenko will just go away. Unlike Walker............................

noway
201
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noway 08/06/08 - 08:54 am
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Whether or not they did a lot

Whether or not they did a lot for Augusta, they were crooks and they thought they were above the law and could take whatever they wanted. The crooks belong in prison.

marien
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marien 08/06/08 - 09:09 am
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stampman79, you forgot if

stampman79, you forgot if mccain win this fall america will seem like prison....

Hot - Hat
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Hot - Hat 08/06/08 - 09:29 am
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What this really boils down

What this really boils down to is that two whites INDEED make a wrong and I thank Schrenko and Williams for shedding some much needed light to wake up the "Ole so good ole boy ignorant community of that. And of course let us not forget about Walker, indeed a crook as well. But it just tickles me pink to have it out there. There are many doing dirt and never get caught. But finally instead of the usual pat on the back Schrenko and Williams warrant a swift kick in the butt!!!!!!

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