Escambia appeals ruling on Childers


Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 11:26 p.m.

PENSACOLA — Escambia County has appealed a judge's decision denying the government financial restitution from imprisoned former state Senate President W.D. Childers, who was convicted of accepting bribes as a county commissioner.

Assistant State Attorney John Simon filed the appeal Monday. Childers is serving a 3-year prison sentence for taking bribes in connection with the county's $3.9 million purchase of a soccer complex in 2001. The county argued it lost money when it sold the complex in 2003 and was entitled to $1.1 million to cover the loss.

But Circuit Judge Jere Tolton wrote in his Dec. 27 ruling denying restitution that it wasn't Childers' fault the county lost money.

"To the contrary, the more persuasive evidence is that the county did not take advantage of traditionally accepted measures to get the highest bid on resale," he wrote

The property, along with 18 adjacent acres, sold again in April for $15 million.

Childers was convicted of bribing another county commissioner to vote for the original land purchase. He began his service as a county commissioner after he was forced out of the Senate in 2000 by term limits.

Childers, 73, is scheduled for release in 2009.

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