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Clayton County responds to corruption investigation

12:16 AM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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Chairman Turner responds to the a Special Purpose Grand Jury report on allegations of corruption in Clayton County.

JONESBORO, Ga. --11Alive is holding the powerful accountable and Clayton County is on the hot seat following a Special Purpose Grand Jury investigation into corruption. 

Several indictments have been handed down as a result of their investigation but we have yet to see elected county officials being held accountable. 

That's why we sat down with Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeffrey Turner. 

"Have you had an opportunity to see the report?" asked 11Alive reporter Ross McLaughlin. 

"Yes I have," Turner responded.

"What do you think?" McLaughlin asked.

"Disheartening, discouraging," he said.  

SPECIAL PURPOSE GRAND JURY DELIVERS REPORT


The Special Purpose Grand Jury investigated the County Commissioners over allegations of corruption. In the report they state: 'The common theme - abuse of power, misuse of taxpayer money, misconduct and nepotism.' 

"I do feel like there was a lot of intimidation of department heads going on," Turner said. 

Turner was called to testify about intimidation from county officials while he was Chief of Police.   

"Did you answer all their questions?" McLaughlin asked. 

"Yes," Turner replied. 

"Did you ever plead the 5th?" McLaughlin questioned.

"No I did not," Turner replied. 

But others did. Special Grand Juror, Keturah Henley was bothered by that.  

"That spoke volumes," she said. 

That's why we reached out to Commissioner Sonna Singleton for comment on the report. She was on the board during the time of the alleged corruption. 

She responded by email stating: 'No sir my name is not mentioned in this report. I have no reason to discuss this.'

However, no one's name is mentioned in the report. Why?

"There are on-going investigations and I will make the determination whether or not further indictments should be sought," said Clayton County District Attorney, Tracy Graham Lawson. 

Commissioner Michael Edmondson was also n the board during the alleged corruption. He responded to our email stating:

Yes, I was subpoenaed twice, appeared twice and answered questions twice in front of the grand jury.
Michael Edmondson
Vice Chairman

Chairman Turner was elected to the County Commission last year. His mission - to run a clean operation. He's bothered by those who make decisions who plead 'the 5th'.

"Absolutely it makes me very uncomfortable," he said. 

The grand jury has made 58 recommendations to hold officials accountable. Such as, taxpayer money should not be used for personal travel, commissioners should not collect voter status information and should not purchase property for which they refused a zoning request from the owner.

"What would be the benefit be?" McLaughlin asked Turner.

"Later, profit," he replied. 

"Profit?" McLaughlin responded.

"Profit driven," he emphasized. 

"For personal gain," McLaughlin reiterated.

"Personal gain," Turner confirmed.

That's been at the center of the allegations. We will continue to follow the investigation to see if any new criminal charges will be brought against any current or former county officials.

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