Friday, June 23, 2000

Prosecutor: Too little, too late in child support case

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Charles Aniagolu wants to pay off some of the debt that landed him in jail as Hamilton County's worst deadbeat parent. But prosecutors say his offer is not nearly enough.

        Mr. Aniagolu, a former correspondent for the British Broadcasting Co., is charged with failing to pay $142,000 in child support to his 13-year-old daughter.

        His family offered this week to settle the dispute with a $6,000 payment and a promise to begin making monthly payments on the remainder of the debt.

        Prosecutor Mike Allen said he rejected the offer and instructed his assistant prosecutors to prepare for a trial.

        “It's something we don't find acceptable at this time,” Mr. Allen said Thursday. “This is not a game. We are not going to back off a prosecution.”

        He said Mr. Aniagolu owes more money in child support than anyone ever indicted in Hamilton County.

        But Mr. Aniagolu's brother, Patrick, said the offer is a fair way to deal with the problem.

        He said the offer would help the child immediately with the $6,000 payment and would allow Mr. Aniagolu to begin earning money for future payments.

        “If they put my brother in the penitentiary, it would worsen the situation and create a burden for the state,” Patrick Aniagolu said.

        Charles Aniagolu, 39, was at the top of the list last year when Mr. Allen announced the indictment of 65 men and four women who owed a total of $1.3 million to their children.

        He remained in England for several months after his indictment, but authorities arrested him last month as he got off a plane in Atlanta.

        He was in the United States for a job interview with CNN. He has remained in jail pending his trial later this year.

        Prosecutors say he never has made a child support payment to his daughter, who now lives in Illinois with her mother.

        The girl's mother, Theresa Miller, formerly of Bond Hill, said she has no opinion on whether Mr. Aniagolu should remain in jail or whether he is able to pay more than $6,000.

        She said she has spoken to his family about a possible settlement, but she was less than enthusiastic about the offer this week.

        “I thought I had formed an opinion (about the case) until I heard about their offer,” Ms. Miller said. “I'm wondering if they're serious.”


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