Sundquist Friend Sentenced to Probation After Guilty Plea

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A longtime friend of former Governor Don Sundquist gets probation on his guilty plea in an investigation into state contracts.

A federal judge in Nashville today sentenced Al Ganier the Third to 18 months of probation.

Ganier pleaded guilty to a lesser charge -- unauthorized use of a computer. He had been accused of trying to destroy or conceal files after learning in 2002 that prosecutors were investigating how his company received a $106 million, five-year contract from the Sundquist administration to provide Internet service to public schools.

Court records show Ganier's company, Education Networks of America, was struggling before it received the state contract that had no competing bids.

John Stamps of Monteagle, a friend of the former governor who lobbied for and invested in Ganier's company, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion and lying to secure an unrelated state contract.

Joanna Ediger, a former state grants director, is serving a three-year fraud sentence for using her position to help Stamps secure a no-bid contract.

Sundquist has never been charged with wrongdoing.

He served two terms as governor as was a longtime congressman before that.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)