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Schrenko released to halfway house

Posted: March 7, 2013 - 3:59pm

The Columbia County resident who went from being the first woman elected to statewide public office to falling in disgrace in a corruption trial is now out of prison and headed to a halfway house.

Linda Schrenko, 63, of Appling, served all but about six months of the prison term she received in U.S. District Court in Atlanta for embezzling about $600,000 in federal funds entrusted to the state Department of Education while she was the Georgia state school superintendent.

According to trial testimony in 2006, Schrenko and her deputy superintendent Merle Temple funneled money that was earmarked to help physically disabled children into her failed campaign for governor in 2002.

Temple, South African businessman Stephan Botes and his employee Peter Steyn also were charged for taking part of the scheme. Only Steyn was acquitted of criminal charges.

Schrenko pled guilty to the charge after the trial was underway, and Temple, then a political activist in Augusta, also pled guilty when faced with Schrenko’s willingness to testify against him.

Temple has already completed his eight-year prison term.

Prior to winning the election as state school superintendent in 1998, Schrenko had mounted a failed campaign for Columbia County school superintendent before the position became one hired by the school board. A veteran educator, she previously served as principal of South Columbia Elementary School.

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Comments (8)


He Austin, your buddy is back. LOL

Look out for a political comeback. Keep her away from the deaf and blind children. Has she made restitution? Or does she get a bye? She has been reborn due to incarceration. She is a new creature courtesy of the State.

She stole $600K and it cost us $90K a year to rehabilitate this phony.


Her Retirement From the State

I am assuming she will receive her state retirement now that she's out of prison. Due to her high salary at State Sup. of Ed. I'm guessing it's a good bit. Will her retirement be affected?

Barry Paschal

Not sure

Not sure about her retirement, but it's an entitlement - she paid into the system, and is entitled to the disbursements. I believe she sued the state over taking part of the money for restitution; I'm not sure how that played out.


I understand the reasoning

I understand the reasoning saying it's an entitlement, but I don' buy it. If you commit criminal activity against a private company they are not going to pay you until all costs associated with the crime are paid. Legal costs and the costs of keeping her incarcerated should be part of her reimbursement. I can't see the same state government and people of the state she committed the crimes against having to pay her anything to be candid, but I'll settle for her completely paying ALL costs.

Barry Paschal

"Buying it"

I don't suppose it's up to us to "buy it" or not. It's whatever the law says it is. Teachers' retirement is a defined benefits plan, so whatever she was promised is what she's due. That's an entitlement, by definition. Now, is it legal to go after those benefits to recoup money from a judgement? I don't see why it wouldn't be. But the government can't just say, "You owe money, so we're going to take it" without performing the same legal action a private entity would have to take to seize money. They couldn't raid your 401k without going to court.


Judgment Against Her

That's what this is all about. Getting the state to take a look at taking legal means to garnish any payments from her Teachers' Retirement System fund or going after the 401K directly. That would seem to be a harder plan if the OJ example is apt in Georgia. However, those who got a judgment against OJ were able to take any property that would come to their attention including his trophies and so on. I'm guessing Schrenko will draw close to $100 grand a year in retirement. Just doesn't seem right.


Equal justice under the law.

A meaningless, scary set of words in modern day America. You get arrested for a minor traffic offense, can't bond out and are killed in general population.

The criminal justice system is as flawed as the society it is supposed to protect.