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Madison School Board president James Howard said Monday he wasn't aware of some of the controversial aspects of Walter Milton Jr.'s history until after the board named him a finalist to be Madison's next superintendent.

Prior to becoming superintendent in Springfield, Ill., Milton was criticized for hiring without a background check a colleague who had been convicted of child molestation in Georgia. The colleague, Julius B. Anthony, was forced to resign from a $110,000 job in Flint, Mich., after a background check uncovered the case, according to the Springfield State Journal-Register.

Milton and Anthony were former business partners and worked together in Fallsburg, N.Y., where Milton was superintendent before moving to Flint, according to news reports.

Milton also faced questions in Flint about inaccuracies in resumes he had submitted when he was hired in Flint and Fallsburg.

Howard said he learned about those issues on Monday after reading blog posts and community comments about the finalists being named. He said they did not change his opinion about Milton.

"We don't know what he actually did," Howard said. "This is just part of the information we'll process."

On Sunday after the School Board announced the candidates, Howard said board members were aware of a 2007 audit that found Milton had been overpaid and used a district credit card for personal expenses he hadn't fully paid back. Howard said the board was initially troubled about the financial issues until it realized what had happened. He declined Monday to elaborate until after a superintendent is selected.

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