Professor retires amid investigation into caviar sales

Douglas Peterson is pictured with a large sturgeon in this photo from the public website of the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. (Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Douglas Peterson is pictured with a large sturgeon in this photo from the public website of the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. (Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A University of Georgia professor plans to retire amid a Georgia Bureau of Investigations probe into whether he profited from the sale of UGA-harvested caviar, according to a report.

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Douglas Peterson allegedly added a consulting fee to each sale, according to GBI documents cited by the Athens Banner-Herald.

Peterson is in charge of the program that sells the caviar from Siberian sturgeon, which the university raises at its fisheries center in northwest Georgia, according to the newspaper. UGA began selling the caviar in 2009.

A GBI affidavit said the caviar was being sold to a company in Texas for $35 an ounce.

Peterson had proposed a roughly 50-50 profit-sharing arrangement with UGA for the caviar sale, according to the affidavit.

However, a UGA official said in 2010 the arrangement “would be unacceptable,” according to the affidavit

The GBI began investigating after UGA received a "hotline complaint" about Peterson's alleged activities in May 2017, according to the affidavit.

Peterson has denied any wrongdoing. No arrests have been made.

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