Gov. Deal Directs GBI to Review DeKalb County Corruption Report
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - There are more fireworks in the ongoing DeKalb County corruption investigation.
Governor Nathan Deal has asked the GBI to review the recently released investigation of DeKalb County government. And the author of that blistering report calling the county government corrupt said interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May is a “liar”.
Bowers released a transcript of a taped interview on Thursday in which he admitted he accept loans of "a few hundred dollars" over eight-year period from county employee, Morris Williams.
Also Thursday, the GBI confirmed that Governor Deal has asked them to review the Bowers/Hyde to see what appropriate action should be taken.
A statement from the governor's office reads: "The governor has instructed the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to review the DeKalb report as it would with other similar reports. Pending their review, GBI will report back to the governor if necessary. This is not a directive to open an investigation."
The investigation report into possible corruption in DeKalb County was released on Wednesday. Appalling corruption, a lack of leadership, and thousands of dollars of misused tax payer money are just some of the explosive allegations leveled against the DeKalb County government in Bowers/Hyde report.
DeKalb County CEO Lee May in a press conference held Wednesday afternoon called the report "laughable" and condemned the group he tasked to look into county corruption. One of the conclusions of the report calls for the CEO to step down. May said that if all the "salacious language" in the report, there is no evidence that he should step down, but would if the voters called for it.
"I'll tell you right now... I am not resigning," May said.
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May alleges the 40-page report cost the county $850,000, and claims the authors requested more time to complete the report-- a cost the county would not pay for.
"I am going to be asking for some of our money back," May said, also describing the brief report as "pitiful."
May claims the allegations of improper financial spending would be negated by other county financial records the authors could have used, claiming he refunded the county for money spent on personal use during a Hawaii business trip.
Meanwhile, at a meeting to debate an upcoming cityhood vote for La Vista Hills, residents discuss the timeliness of the report and various recommendations, in light of efforts to reform county government or even create a new city to avoid DeKalb County's long history of corruption allegations.
Many residents have read some or all of the corruption report and weigh in on the calls for May's resignation.
"I actually have already written Lee May and the commissioners and asked them to resign," one resident said.
"We're in favor of the voters and the people being the ones to decide that," another resident weighed in, hoping to see more facts before criticizing the current Interim CEO.
In August, a letter previewing the report called the DeKalb County Government "rotten to the core". Investigators said they reached that conclusion after going through hundreds of thousands of documents. Investigators said they have found corruption in nearly every department since beginning their probe last spring.
Investigators said taxpayer money was used to buy liquor, catered meals, snacks, and even a cruise to the Bahamas for an employee.
May, at the time, said that he was upset by the language that he said comes across as a blanket indictment against the county’s over 6,500 employees. While he did not disagree that there was corruption, he did criticize that the letter did not lay out all the facts.
Commissioner Nancy Jester who believes things are “very bad in DeKalb County” said she read over the report on Wednesday and said she will release a statement later, but asked that all “pray for DeKalb”.
May appointed the investigators last March saying at the time that he wanted transparency. He echoed those sentiments in August adding that he felt the people of DeKalb County want to feel confident in their government. He said he would try to make things as transparent as possible moving forward.
Late Thursday afternoon, May responded to the recent develops with the statement: “As I have said all along, I welcome and support all investigations into DeKalb County Government, and this includes the Governor’s announcement today. I have previously urged all county employees to cooperate in all investigations, and that statement still stands.”
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