Former SCSU chief pleads guilty to conspiracy

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - At the first of two hearings in different federal{}courtrooms as part of a public corruption case involving South Carolina State University, a former police chief pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy.

The first hearing Thursday was scheduled for 11 a.m. in Charleston.

At that hearing, Michael Bartley, the school's former police chief, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. According to prosecutors, Bartley conspired to receive a $30,000 kickback on the purchase of property by the school in 2011.{}

Officials tied Bartley to the case by wiretapping the phone of Jonathan Pinson, the chairman of SCSU's board. Conversations that discusses Bartley's role in the deal were recorded. U.S. attorney Mark Moore said Bartley was responsible for showing officials the property and trying to sell them on the purchase.

Bartley faces a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. He has not been sentenced yet.

At a 2:30 p.m. hearing in Columbia, Pinson and Eric Robinson pleaded not guilty after being arraigned in federal court on charges of conspiracy and extortion.

Pinson's bond was set at $25,000. Robinson's bond was set at $15,000. The maximum sentence the two men could face is a 20-year prison term and a $250,000 fine.{}

In February, the university fired eight administrators for mismanagement as an attorney working with the school said there were accusations of criminal misconduct surrounding the dismissals. The university president stepped down a month later.

The school hired Reggie Lloyd, a former U.S. Attorney and State Law Enforcement Division chief, to do an internal investigation, but that work was never completed.