Oren Paris III
Arkansas Business illustration.
TWO DOWN: Former State Rep. Micah Neal (left) and Ecclesia College President Oren Parris III have pleaded guilty in a kickback scheme, which prosecutors say also involved former Sen. Jon Woods (right).
, president of Ecclessia
College in Springdale, pleaded guilty today to fraud ahead of a trial scheduled to begin on Monday, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports
Federal prosecutors allege that Paris paid kickbacks to former state Sen. Jon Woods
and former state Rep. Micah Neal
in return for general improvement fund grants to the college. Neal pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count in early 2017. Paris was scheduled to go to trial next week alongside Woods and Randell Shelton, a consultant who prosecutors say served as a pass-through for the kickbacks.