HOUSTON (AP) _ A former president of Texas Southern University who was accused of inappropriately spending school money pleaded no contest Wednesday and agreed to repay the financially strapped institution more than $127,000.
Under a plea agreement, Priscilla Slade will be given 10 years of deferred adjudication and must perform 400 hours of community service, the Houston Chronicle reported online. The deferred adjudication means Slade's record will be cleared if she completes the judge's terms.
Slade pleaded no contest to misapplication of fiduciary property with a value over $100,000.
In a statement read in court, Slade accepted responsibility for the expenditures in the indictment.
"If I had the opportunity to do things differently, I would do so," she said in the statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with the Texas Southern University family, to whom I apologize."
She was tried for misapplication of fiduciary property with a value over $200,000, but a mistrial was declared in October. If convicted, she faced a possible sentence of life in prison.
Prosecutors said Slade misspent more than half a million dollars in TSU funds to make extravagant purchases for her homes, including more than $138,000 on landscaping, more than $100,000 in furniture and home decorations, and about $60,000 on a high-tech security system.
Prosecutors said Slade also misspent school funds to pay for bar tabs, manicures, spa treatments and exercise classes.
Her attorney has said the money was spent to improve TSU's image and to court donors. He has blamed the purchasing problems on other TSU employees who had mismanaged the paperwork and said Slade became a scapegoat.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.