06/02/04 — Goodman pleads guilty, will resign city seat

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Goodman pleads guilty, will resign city seat

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on June 2, 2004 2:05 PM

Goldsboro City Councilman Bill Goodman has pleaded guilty to obtaining property by false pretenses and will resign his council seat, his lawyer said.

He was sentenced in Wake County Superior Court to between five and six months in jail, suspended upon unsupervised probation.

Goodman, 54, also has to pay $24,000 in restitution by Friday, according to his lawyer, Joseph B. Cheshire V, and Wake District Attorney Colon Willoughby.

William Goodman Jr


Goodman has held his seat on the council since 1987. His legal troubles stem from his work for the state Department of Correction.

He was a training scheduler for the department. He retired after reports surfaced that he had been fraudulently billing the state more than $24,000 for several hundred nights he spent at his mother's beach condominium.

City Manager Richard Slozak said he hadn't heard about the plea. He also said that, to his knowledge, the city has not yet received a resignation letter from Good-man.

Goodman was not present at the council's budget work session Tuesday.

Once Goodman resigns, the council will be charged with finding a replacement for District 3, which spans parts of northern Goldsboro.

Goodman's replacement will be determined by the council through one of two alternatives. The council can either appoint someone, or it can advertise the opening, accept applications and conduct interviews.

In 2002, when former Councilman Tom Barwick moved to Clayton, the council chose to advertise his position. After interviewing several applicants, the council chose Bob Waller to represent District 2.

Goodman was originally charged with five felonies after the SBI reviewed his expense reports. He pleaded guilty this week to one count of obtaining property by false pretenses.

The matter was referred to the bureau in the spring of 2002 by Willoughby, the district attorney, who was contacted by one of Goodman's co-workers with concerns about the expense reports.

The inquiry led Correction officials to tighten controls on reimbursing employees for lodging.

As both a training scheduler and a teacher, Goodman had his choice of locations for his teaching assignments, officials said at the time. Goodman almost always scheduled himself to teach at a campus at Fort Fisher, close to his mother's Carolina Beach condominium. He taught basic courses for new correction officers.

Correction employees are required to turn in receipts from a commercial lodging establishment. The receipts submitted by Goodman became suspect because they were issued by Bullard Realty Inc. of Carolina Beach.

Correction officials were not convinced Goodman had actually paid for the nightly lodging and later learned the realty company did not know the receipts had been given to Goodman. Between 1997 and 2002, Goodman submitted fraudulent receipts totaling more than $24,000, Cheshire said prosecutors alleged.

In August 2002, several months after the SBI inquiry began, Goodman retired from his $44,008 position, which he had held since 1983. He had originally denied doing anything improper, saying employees can stay anywhere they choose.

Followup story — Goodman's resignation official