Greed still evident in system
Published 2:12 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007
As the year 2007 began the biggest story brewing was the unraveling and evolution of the gigantic junior college system corruption saga. It is still evolving and the mounting evidence portends that it is a tempest in a teapot ready to explode. The obvious pilfering and abuse are brazen. It is astonishing to comprehend the widespread cavalier scandalous behavior in this day and time. A day seldom passes when there is not another revelation of nepotism, waste, malfeasance and reckless spending of taxpayers' money.
The father of the corruption, Roy Johnson, has long been fired but the trail of his unbelievable greed and corruption continues to unravel.
Johnson was paid an enormous salary but that was not enough. He had his wife, his son and his daughter on the payroll. His daughter-in-law and son-in-law had lucrative contracts with the system, although they had other jobs and careers. The only people in Johnson's family who were not getting paid were his second cousin and his dog.
Johnson and his immediate family were receiving over $560,000 in salary. His best friend received consulting contracts of over $900,000 to lobby for the two-year schools. At the same time, that friend turned around and loaned Johnson $125,000. Johnson had the state billed for his home in Opelika, including the furniture in the home. The state also paid for furniture at his vacation homes in Orange Beach and Gatlinburg.
One fourth of the members of the legislature have been given “jobs” at a junior college, most after they became members of the legislature. The most egregious legislative example would have to be Carbon Hill Rep. Ken Guin who was not satisfied with one job but took two. Guin was being paid $48,000 by one and $49,000 by the other, even though neither of the junior colleges were in the town where he has a full time law practice.
There appears to be a broad federal investigation into the junior college fiasco. Indictments have already been handed down with probably many others to follow.
Since the first of the year the system has seen four new chancellors. First, Johnson was fired. Then respected retired President of Samford University, Tom Corts, took a turn but he was too na