Cherokee BoC All Clear in Audit

Looks like Cherokee County Commissioners can breathe a little easier. An audit into the BOC’s dealing with Ball Ground Recycling reveals no illegal activity.  The full article from the Cherokee Tribune is below the fold.

DA: Audit clears BoC in Ball Ground Recycling case

by TCT Staff

04.28.14 – 12:13 pm

District Attorney Shannon Wallace said Monday morning that the forensic audit into Cherokee County’s controversial dealings with Ball Ground Recycling shows no illegal activity on the part of the Board of Commissioners.

“I have been advised that it is the conclusion of state and local law enforcement that the audit does not reveal any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the Board of Commissioners,” Wallace said in a statement. “I have reviewed the audit and agree with this conclusion.”

Wallace said she released the 7,345-page audit to the Board of Commissioners on Monday, after being advised by local law enforcement to do so.

The investigation is ongoing, but it has come to a point where releasing the audit will no longer compromise law enforcement’s efforts, Wallace said.

Wallace said the audit speaks for itself on the county’s management of the deal.

The audit cost Cherokee County $500,000 and was into the county’s dealings with resident Jimmy Bobo’s now defunct recycling operation. In 2006, the county agreed to back $18.1 million in bond debt to move the business, and, when Bobo closed down, taxpayers were left holding the bill for $100,000 a month in payments on the property.

12 comments

  1. Raleigh says:

    It may clear them of “criminal” wrongdoing but it does not clear them of judgmental wrongdoing. I believe the payments will continue on until 2037. Thanks for the 2nd mortgage Cherokee BOC looks like we get to fix your “Error in Judgment”.

  2. Raleigh says:

    I received a campaign e-mail yesterday from Commissioner Johnston and I have to say what the heck. He said this about moving the Bobo recycling operation. Apparently they did this for a private citizen. Boy I want in on that.

    “It was primarily his (Steve Marcinko) complaints about the operation that drove us to find a way to move it. Yes, more than anyone else, we did it for him. “

    Is all we have to do to get the county to back moving a business to over 18 million in bad loan guarantees is be a pain in the butt? Here is another reason why we can’t have nice things in Cherokee County.

  3. Three Jack says:

    Classic Harry trying to blame someone else for his own (costly) mistakes. If anybody should be facing charges, it would be Harry who was the main contact for Bobo and Marcinko as the deal was negotiated. Like Balfour in Gwinnett, Harry has been doing the same crap for many years but keeps winning landslide re-elections and will do so again this year.

    • Raleigh says:

      All true, I think the campaign for commissioner should have started back in October but there are too many “free radicals” (or just radicals) that will take off on a tangent and muddy the message. That’s an old story with almost every political campaign. It’s funny Harry states as one of his strengths he is a CPA but my CPA has never figured out how to put 18 mill in my pocked and have everyone else pay for it. Maybe I need to hire Harry. But then again I once owned MIRANT stock too so I’m use to this with Harry.

  4. Three Jack says:

    From Harry’s campaign site – In hindsight, everyone acknowledges that it was a mistake back in 2005 for the county to guarantee the financing of this facility. But I promise you it was a lot harder to see then than it is now. A total of eight commissioners approved various parts of the plan, with none ever opposing it. And the intentions were good. We were looking for a good way to get a heavy industrial waste wood grinding operation moved out of a residential area and to a suitable industrial site. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an expensive way.

    When the construction economy collapsed, the supply of stumps and other waste wood material for the operation dried up. The operator defaulted, leaving the county to cover the annual $1.2 million debt payments. Taxes were NOT increased for this purpose, as the cost was absorbed into the county’s budget through other savings. But the cost is the equivalent of about $9 per year to the average homeowner. We are looking for a new operator to take over the facility and make at least part of those payments and reduce the net county cost. But a portion will likely have to be borne by the county until the bonds are fully repaid.

    My political enemies greatly exaggerate the cost to the county and try to characterize this issue as if there was corruption. Ironically, the leader of that group is a property owner adjacent to the original site, who filed over 100 written complaints and even sued the county about it. The deal to move the facility was primarily in response to his complaints. Grand juries, a forensic auditor, and law enforcement agencies have all investigated, and NONE have accused the BOC of anything worse than the honest mistake we’ve readily acknowledged. And I guarantee you none will.

    In spite of absorbing this cost our tax rates remain among the very lowest in Georgia, and our services are still excellent and getting even better.

    Summarizing – ‘Come on folks, it’s only $9 per year to cover my $18M error, no biggie. Suck it up, cast your ballot for Harry and let’s keep Cherokee on the front pages as the most inept if not corrupt county in the area.’

  5. Raleigh says:

    “Taxes were NOT increased for this purpose, as the cost was absorbed into the county’s budget through other savings.”

    Really? Let’s see that “other” saving could be, no raises to county employees, improvement of county services, or perhaps funding needed infrastructure improvements. So yes Harry taxes were increased.

    This however “But the cost is the equivalent of about $9 per year to the average homeowner” is classic BS. As a CPA Harry should know better. He’s dividing 18.1 million by the number of people that live in Cherokee County but the taxes will be paid through property tax. that 9 bucks is really much more. He also isn’t adding, Interest, debt service, forensic audits. etc. etc. etc.

    GREAT JOB HARRY!

  6. Raleigh says:

    BTW our very own John Konop was a late member of the reformed Resource Recovery committee. I recall he resigned in protest along with 2 other members of that board. Probably a smart move on his part. He may have an opinion about this. Wait who am I kidding John WILL have an opinion.

  7. Three Jack says:

    Raleigh, I don’t know if you ever logged into the old Yahoo blog CRDCherokee but it was originally setup for the no-growthers to discuss their idealistic concepts. There were many discussions about the Marckinko/Bobo battle on there with Harry offering in depth details about ongoing negotiations (we used to question the ethics of a sitting commissioner deeply involved as he was openly discussing such critical matters on a blog). Unfortunately the blog was reformatted so that only approved members can look back over the years of discussions. It would be interesting to analyze Harry’s comments about negotiations then knowing what we know now.

    • Raleigh says:

      Yes I did and yes I am still a member. Looks like I have some home work tonight. I think it goes back to 2000. I’ll try look back and see what’s there.

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