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Former College President Charged With Obstruction

By Associated Press

Birmingham, AL – A former interim president of Southern Union State Community College in Wadley has been charged with obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury probing Alabama's two-year college system.

In a statement Thursday, U.S. Attorney Alice Martin in Birmingham said 66-year-old Joanne Jordan of Ashland admits giving false testimony and also has agreed to plead guilty to a state ethics charge related to the federal charge.

The federal charge of obstruction could bring a penalty of no more than ten years in prison and fines of $250,000, or both. She will enter a formal plea later.

Jordan, a long-time employee of Southern Union, had served as its interim president at the Wadley campus from July 2002 until June 2006.

In her plea agreement, Jordan admitted that she received free services from a contractor she hired for college work, gave a bogus contract to former two-year colleges Chancellor Roy Johnson's son-in-law and authorized spending $24,000 in college funds on Johnson's girlfriend.

Martin, in her statement, said the ''Lesson for the day - do not lie to a federal grand jury.''

The federal investigation already has produced several plea agreements from contractors who said they paid kickbacks to Johnson and others, and a former legislator who said he used state money to pay gambling debts.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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