03/10/04 — Goodman could lose council seat

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Goodman could lose council seat

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 10, 2004 2:01 PM

Goldsboro City Councilman William Goodman would lose his council seat, by law, if he is found guilty of falsifying expense reports while employed by the state Department of Correction.

Goodman was charged on Feb. 27 by the Wake County District Attorney's Office with five felony counts of falsifying expense reports.

The state's constitution says that a person guilty of a felony cannot vote.

It also says that a person who is not qualified to vote and judged guilty of a felony against the state is disqualified from holding a public office.

Goodman's alleged offenses occurred between 1998 and 2002, while he was employed as a trainer for the Correction Department.

In April 2002, the State Bureau of Investigation requested that the department investigate allegations regarding Goodman, who was, at that time, the eastern region training coordinator of the Office of Staff Development and Training for the Correction Department.

Goodman retired from his position at the end of July 2002 after the allegations surfaced.

The report from the investigation said Goodman submitted falsified travel expense reports over two years. The invoices showed fraudulent lodging records, duplicate travel expenses and a misuse of state funds to attend City Council meetings.

Goodman has declined making a comment about the case to the newspaper, but at the beginning of the SBI investigation in August 2002, he did make a brief comment to the News-Argus about the issue.

"In the outcome, I will be cleared of all allegations, if there are any," he said.

The investigation report outlined the following allegations:

Goodman purchased a condominium at Carolina Beach in 1999, which was rented during the peak summer months. During those months, the real estate company collected the rent, withheld its commission, and forwarded the remainder of the payment to Goodman.

In a written statement to the Department of Correction auditors, the real estate company's owner and property manager stated that in months other than June, July and August when the condominium was not rented, Goodman stayed in the condo and incurred no out-of-pocket lodging expenses.

The property manager provided Goodman with a statement on the company's letterhead stationary showing dates he stayed in the condo at $60 or more per night.

She told the auditors that these statements did not represent receipts for lodging expense and had only been provided to Goodman because he asked for them, and that no money had exchanged hands. Using those statements, Goodman completed his expense reports.

Tom Ford, an assistant district attorney in Wake County, will be prosecuting the Goodman case, but has said he can not comment about it. No court date has been set for the case.