Judge takes Classic fund from board

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The three-quarters of a million dollars former state Sen. Charles Walker had to repay to the charity he co-founded is now out of the hands of the CSRA Classic's board of directors.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. ruled that the CSRA Classic's written plan for using the money was submitted too late.

In place of the CSRA Classic's board, Judge Bowen appointed a three-member commission to make recommendations about how the restitution money should be used.

Augusta attorney Patrick Rice, one of the community leaders drafted for the job, said the commission's starting premise is to put the money to use as the CSRA Classic's intended goals state: college scholarships and development programs for underprivileged children in the community.

Mr. Rice said the commission will examine established groups and organizations with the proven ability to accomplish such goals and the ability to provide accountability.

In a December 2005 order and again on Sept. 12, Judge Bowen reiterated what he said at Mr. Walker's sentencing: Because of the CSRA Classic board's lack of oversight of Mr. Walker's use of the charity's funds, the judge insisted on a written plan for the restitution. He also required proof that CSRA Classic was properly registered as a charity with the Georgia secretary of state.

According to state and federal records, the CSRA Classic's charity registration expired in December 2005, and the charity has not filed charitable federal income tax returns since 2004.

Judge Bowen's deadline for the CSRA Classic board passed, and on Oct. 8 he signed an order that severed the board's ability to collect the restitution, now at $775,198 because of interest payments. That same day attorney Benjamin Allen filed a proposal on behalf of the CSRA Classic.

The board proposed setting aside $175,000 for college scholarships and $100,000 for organizations such as the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, the city's recreation youth scholarship fund and 100 Black Men of Augusta.

The rest, under the board's proposal, would remain with the CSRA Classic to negotiate a contract with schools to hold the annual Classic football game for the next three years.

U.S. Attorney Edmund A. Booth Jr. objected to the late proposal and asked the judge to strike it. In light of testimony by board members during Mr. Walker's trial, the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District questioned the board's independence from Mr. Walker.

On Friday, Judge Bowen signed the order that gave his commission a Dec. 5 deadline to file its recommendations.

Although Mr. Walker was ordered to pay restitution in late 2005, it was held in trust until recently, when Mr. Walker lost his final appeals. He also had to pay interest on the restitution.

Mr. Walker, who served in the Georgia House and Senate for more than 20 years, was once one of the most powerful political leaders in Georgia. The Senate majority leader lost his seat in 2002 but regained it in 2004 while he was under federal indictment.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

The Back Story: Charles Walker and CSRA Classic

Former state Sen. Charles Walker was convicted in 2005 in federal court of 127 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and filing false charity tax returns. He was accused of running various schemes to defraud two national companies that advertised in his newspaper, campaign contributors, two public hospitals and contributors to the charity he co-founded in 1993, the CSRA Classic.
The CSRA Classic annual charity football event was designed to raise money for scholarships. Mr. Walker was convicted of crimes connected to his personal use of the charity funds. He was ordered to repay all of his victims, including the CSRA Classic.
Mr. Walker, who turned 61 on Saturday, is serving a 10-year prison sentence. He is scheduled for release in September 2014.

Comments (40) Add comment
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dickworth1
954
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dickworth1 11/12/08 - 04:44 am
0
0
I can't believe a democrat
Unpublished

I can't believe a democrat would be involved in such a scandel,
it was probably Geo. Bush's fault!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 11/12/08 - 05:43 am
0
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Man! Don't you know it just

Man! Don't you know it just frosts Walker to see his hard scammed money go to the purpose it was intended. And his "board" was unable to meet a deadline for the express purpose of money dispersion. Something they, supposedly, were doing every year. They didn't even qualify as a charity without Walker in the state senate steering the paperwork. Charles Walker is the type of politician that uses the black community for his own personal gain and makes the community like it. "...you wouldn't understand".

fred1217
4
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fred1217 11/12/08 - 06:33 am
0
0
Maybe they should use some of

Maybe they should use some of the money to help keep MCG in Augusta. With Senator Walker gone and the likes of a radical thinking Congressman Braun in power we could easily loose ground to Athens.

willietrunk
0
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willietrunk 11/12/08 - 06:42 am
0
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That money was raised in the

That money was raised in the black community and I sure hope that it giving back to the black community. Without a doubt, Walker paid the tuition of many area black students. This man never ever once gained any publicity for these acts and would not allow anyone in my church to give praise. Both, white and black students are indeed indebted to Mr. Walker and I can only pray that mercy is given to him and his family. Remember, two children are left without the guidance of a father.

willietrunk
0
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willietrunk 11/12/08 - 06:44 am
0
0
I do know President Bush is

I do know President Bush is currently reviewing the case and there is a pretty good chance that Mr. Walker will receive a pardon. If not, Sen Obama has reviewed the case and could not for the life of him understand how this was allowed to happened. However, Rove may have an inclination of what happened.

PTHS225
1
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PTHS225 11/12/08 - 06:51 am
0
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willie - Maybe he should have

willie - Maybe he should have paid your tuition too. This looks like a case for justus4us! Hey, how come the "black community" doesn't want to share "their" money with the entire community? Is it a one-way street? I'll be happy to play by those rules if that's the way you want it.....

JimCox
7
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JimCox 11/12/08 - 06:58 am
0
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I'm sure he'll ask Obama for

I'm sure he'll ask Obama for a pardon.

willietrunk
0
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willietrunk 11/12/08 - 07:21 am
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GatorRaid, I am a 58 year

GatorRaid,
I am a 58 year old, white (not that it should be of any relevance) pastor who has observed Mr. Walker's dedication to education for low incomed families. Many of times I have seen students loose HOPE money and various donors contribute to keep these students in school; single moms, athletes, etc. Once a student goes under a 3.0, they loose HOPE and many have to stop college unless people like Walker intervene. I am talking about over 370 something, that I know have received tuition paid in full. Now if they have vowed that they would not inform of this, I am sorry! But ask yourself, how many students have helped, how many prescriptions have you purchased. I think sometimes people get aside themselves and judge without knowledge of the good deeds others have done. Even Priests are not good all of the time and we have to do deeds that are for the better good; this is what happened here in this case with Mr. Walker.

willietrunk
0
Points
willietrunk 11/12/08 - 07:28 am
0
0
Jim Cox, Why not President

Jim Cox,
Why not President Bush? Keep in my mind that he has a black spiritual advisor, who happened to marry off his daughter. Additionally, he has given our country the most diverse cabinet, in history. I am sure he would assist Walker before Obama.

PTHS225
1
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PTHS225 11/12/08 - 07:39 am
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willie - Thank you for your

willie - Thank you for your response. Maybe we should not look only at how many he has helped, I don't think that was ever questioned. Perhaps we should look to the greater good he could have accomplished if he had used ALL of the donated community funds for their intended purposes. 117 counts don't lie, his personal greed and temptation got in the way of his good works, and he is paying his just due now. He will get His final verdict on judgement day, I hope he repents.

PTHS225
1
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PTHS225 11/12/08 - 07:44 am
0
0
And you never answered my

And you never answered my question about "black community" funds - we are a community or we are not. Folks that insist on keeing it divided (hint - it's not the whites), will perpetuate this pitiful situation. "Give us your money and stay out of our affairs" isn't going to cut it.

oldenuff2nobetter
0
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oldenuff2nobetter 11/12/08 - 08:13 am
0
0
I'm sure the social worker

I'm sure the social worker with a law degree will grant Mr. Walker a pardon after the inauguration. The division of the races still lives in this country. You can legislate the actions of people, but you can't legislate their attitudes. Let's forgive all the criminals in prison and give them a 2nd chance. That's the attitude of most Democrats and bleeding heart Liberals. Everyone should study the history of the USSR. Our society is headed in that direction and we don't even know it.

PTHS225
1
Points
PTHS225 11/12/08 - 08:42 am
0
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Some of us recognize

Some of us recognize it....but we didn't vote for Obama.

ripjones
2
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ripjones 11/12/08 - 09:17 am
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Willietrunk - I worked at the

Willietrunk - I worked at the same place as Charles Walker's wife worked for thirteen years. She was then, and as far as I know still is, a really nice lady. I had the pleasure of meeting then Senator Walker at our Christmas party. He was a friendly sort of guy. But the problem is that he still broke the law. He unfairly gained from most of his businesses -- even his charitable ones. Let's take the Classic as an example. He took in $700,000 but gave out only 100 scholarships valued at $500, or $50,000. Where did the rest of the money go? My son's tuition at ASU is $1300 a semester, not including books. How far did that $500 really go, towards a year of college? Help me get my arms around this.

oneconservativetoanother
5
Points
oneconservativetoanother 11/12/08 - 09:24 am
0
0
As Jim Cox and

As Jim Cox and oldenuff2nobetter understand the conservatives of this country did not vote for Obama and we do not agree that criminals -whoever they are and whoever they are connected to- should get off without paying back what is owed. Mr. Walker along with many local political officials have been convicted because they broke the law. We can always forgive their sins but there are consequences to sin and we will all answer for them. Color has nothing to do with sin. Forgiveness has nothing to do with social status. Our next generation is going to suffer greatly because of our greed. God help them and forgive us.

reader54
137
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reader54 11/12/08 - 09:44 am
0
0
WillieTrunk:Let me get this

WillieTrunk:Let me get this straight. If I scam you for 1 million$ and donate half to charity ,then I deserve a pardon? Where's the deterrent?

disssman
6
Points
disssman 11/12/08 - 09:49 am
0
0
I will never forget, years

I will never forget, years ago, standing in line at Morgan Road MS waiting in a ling line to vote, and watching the black folks pass around the "cheat sheet". Yhat is what they called it, and it was a list from Walker which showed them who or what they should vote on!! I thought it odd that they couldn't make their own mind up and had to be told what ballot to check. I thought then, and still today, that Walker was a flim flam artist of the first caliber and he was using the black community to squeeze everything he could out of them. As for the argument, that he did a lot of good, so did Jesse James, but he was still a crook. Until the Black community starts to identify and face up to the crooks in their community we will continue to have racial strife in this town. Don't get me wrong, I believe every community needs a hero, but please identify and pick one that isn't so self centered.

disssman
6
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disssman 11/12/08 - 09:51 am
0
0
I almost forgot, who wants to

I almost forgot, who wants to bet, the new managers are ALL lawyers? Most judges consider only lawyers are capable of making decisions when it comes to someone else's money!

RhondaAllDay365
10
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RhondaAllDay365 11/12/08 - 09:55 am
0
0
GatorRaid, I DON'T THINK

GatorRaid, I DON'T THINK A-N-Y-BODY cares if you voted for Obama or not, he still W-O-N !!!!!!!! But I understand only one word can describe people of your type (black or white) .........REDNECK.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 11/12/08 - 10:17 am
0
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GatorRaid the money shouldn't

GatorRaid the money shouldn't be shared with the entire community because the entire community doesn't support the classic. The classic needed sponsors and Capital City Bank was the only one that stepped up. No one questions the Board at the master's when they decide to spend their money.

MJDW
0
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MJDW 11/12/08 - 10:25 am
0
0
You watch Walker will get his

You watch Walker will get his pardon and be back on a ballot for some office and the very people he robed and brought shame on will vote him back in to office! The Black Community don't care if he is a crook and lier as long as they belive they are getting something for nothing!

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 11/12/08 - 10:29 am
0
0
Why not ask if Libby deserved

Why not ask if Libby deserved a pardon? First of all I think that walker got what he deserved, having said that , I also think that just like anyone else, he has the right to petition the courts or the President for relief.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/12/08 - 10:29 am
0
0
you're probably right

you're probably right disssman. The new board is probably all lawyers. Then again, who else seems to know the laws governing distribution of charitable income and the bi-laws of this particular charity or how to understand how these laws apply to the dispersion of the monies? It's a difficult situation, and not all lawyers are skanks.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 11/12/08 - 10:34 am
0
0
MJDW, yeah the Black

MJDW, yeah the Black community only cares if its get something for nothing. I believe your ignorant azz ought to go back and read the article about Ben Harbin. A lot of those defenders stated that they supported him because of what he did for the community. I am willing to bet that the majority of them were white. So save your generalization for some thing else.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 11/12/08 - 10:38 am
0
0
Yes, I heard of one recipient

Yes, I heard of one recipient of his scholarships getting a grand total of $300. That was one black family that raised a red flag to authorities.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 11/12/08 - 10:54 am
0
0
RhondaAllDay, have you ever

RhondaAllDay, have you ever been victimized by blacks? I'm guessing you have, even if you're black. Considering half the people of Augusta seem to be related to someone named Walker, you're probably loathe to say anything negative of Charles Walker, too. Might drag down a relative's family name, I guess. Anyway, it's not nice to call people names and make blanket generalizations. I voted for McCain and I am no redneck. Frankly, I have met a few people you might call rednecks that voted FOR Obama, because they don't care who is on the ticket or what the issues are, they ALWAYS vote Democrat. I don't consider them typical, but that is just an opinion. Generalizations just don't work.

willietrank
0
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willietrank 11/12/08 - 11:22 am
0
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I was not posting to talk

I was not posting to talk about redemption, but only good deeds and the political saviness of Mr. Walker. I am only a pastor and do not get into politics, especially when opinions are mixed-in. I only stated facts in my previous posts, I do not claim to know Ms Walker, I do not know where Walker put his cash. However, I do know that it is ashame when some key Rebulicans feel bad for the situation Walker is in, but let the citizens beleive that Walker is the worst criminal in the world. They just never thought it would go that far. I leave you with this my friends. This comes from the key Republican politician, and devote Christian who feels really bad about Walker's situation, and who is also a very good friend of mine. He tells the story of how a few years back, his seat was in trouble and he needed to "pacify" a few blacks in his district so that they would continue to support him. Well, at this time Walker was the leader of the Senate and my friend was a leader, but on the wrong side of the isle. Keep in mind that Walker was not only the leader of the Senate, but also a member of the Appropriations Comm. Well my friend gives Walker this spill about how these kids

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 11/12/08 - 11:31 am
0
0
Hypo, I hate to disagree with

Hypo, I hate to disagree with you, but by far, most of the comments about Ben Harbin spoke well of his efforts for columbia county, but spoke harshly about his abuse of power in relation to his DUI getaway. While that is similar to the Walker case, I guarantee if Harbin had robbed his constituents, the comments would have been MUCH more harsh and his political career would be over.

willietrank
0
Points
willietrank 11/12/08 - 11:35 am
0
0
were in dire need of this and

were in dire need of this and that. However, my friend, the Republican just knew he would get turned away because they had earlier been in a very heated debate in public about the flag. Anyway, my friend ask for some money for this youth home somewhere down by Videlia, Mel Blount Youth Home. Well, Walker ensured the money was routed from the state's budget so that the Republican, who know very big in the state's Republican Party would keep his seat safe. After session, sometime in the summer matter of fact, my friend saw Walker in Atlanta and asked him, why did you do that for me and Walker replied, "we are on the same side aren't we, the people love a good fight and it is our job to give it to them, just as long some good come of this." The Republican was very shocked and this gave him the fuel to hold the post that he has today. So let us not forget that the MCG move to Athens hurts everyone in the city. The Republican was dying to assist Walker, because he knew what he was all about. Why are cities like Columbus and counties getting more projects from the state's budget than Augusta and Richmond County? Simple, because our current senator does not havea seat at the table

willietrank
0
Points
willietrank 11/12/08 - 11:46 am
0
0
GatorRaid, I have a white

GatorRaid,
I have a white member in my church who has a big farm. His neighbors down the road were once share croppers for his family. He will tell anyone who will listen that he could always go to the Farm Serviuce Agency offices and get money for the silliest reason, even when his credit was shot. However, the black neighbor could never secure a loan. Well, I do know about 10 or so years back, the black families around my white church member, all received $50,000 to $100,000 because the USDA released documentation showing that the Department discriminated against minorities. I do not know if it is fair if the get to keep money in their communities and expect that no one, not even Big Brother, have a say in what they do with their money and on what projects they spend it on. But I do know that if I were to encounter such stupidity, I would do the same and make all those who rely on me to do the same.

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