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Wake schools to receive $3 million in fine money

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In a case of good budget news, the Wake County school system will get $3 million in fine money as part of the settlement in a tax fraud case.

As noted in today's online article by Anne Blythe, two South Carolina cigarette distributors agreed to pay $6.5 million in restitution and fines to settle a protracted and complicated tax fraud case. This includes $3 million in court fines, which routinely go to schools.

The case was prosecuted in Raleigh so the money goes to Wake schools.

Judge Donald Stephens, the chief resident Wake County Superior Court judge, said under his calculations the $3 million fine could help save the jobs of 50 to 60 Wake teachers.

"Everybody benefits from this decision," Stephens said from the bench. "Hopefully the board of education finds some rational way to spend the $3 million."

As you guys recall, Stephens had angrily responded in 2009 at school board member Ron Margiotta when he criticized how the judge agreed with letting Jim Black turn over land to help pay part of his fine.

Unlike the Black fine, we're talking about Wake getting the full amount in cash. The two cigarette distributors came to court today with a certified check of $3 million.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.