Friday, May 20, 2011

TOP STORY > >Two named in bribe scheme

Pulaski County Special School District school board member Tim Clark and former Jacksonville middle school principal Mike Nellums have been implicated in a scheme to portray board member Gwen Williams as corrupt, according to Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley.

No charges are expected to be filed.

According to a Pulaski County sheriff’s investigation, Clark and Nellums are believed to have conspired to film a bogus video of Williams purportedly accepting a bribe to secure a sidewalk contract.

The video and an audiotape were delivered to school board members along with a phony letter from a contractor claiming to have bribed Williams in order to secure a contract.

The sheriff’s investigation found that Clark and Nellums hired a friend and a private investigator to participate in the scheme.

Clark was board president when the case came to light in September. Nellums was the principal of Jacksonville Middle School Boys before being promoted to principal of Mills University Studies High School in Little Rock.

“No criminal charges are appropriate. That said, the entire affair is sad and has been a terrible distraction of law enforcement resources and of a beleaguered school district, which has been struggling to improve. Put bluntly, what happened is shameful,” Jegley said in his statement about the sheriff’s investigation.

“It appears that Nellums and Clark’s sole purpose for this elaborate scheme was to present the other board members with the video and letter,” the report said.

The prosecutor exonerates Williams from wrongdoing.

“At this time, we have not heard of any resignations,” PCSSD spokeswoman Deborah Roush said late Friday.

No action can be taken regarding the future of Nellums and Clark’s positions until the school board meets, she said.