Former Bibb superintendent pleads guilty; county official accused of bribery
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Bibb County’s Industrial Authority Chairman is facing jail time for bribing former Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand. Grand jurors indicted Cliffard Whitby Friday morning, two days after Dallemand plead guilty in a Florida courtroom for filing a false tax return.
Whitby stood shackled around the ankles and handcuffed inside federal court; he’s accused of paying Dallemand around $400,000 over the course of six years. His defense says they’ll “defend the charges vigorously.”
The indictment begins in 2011, Whitby, the Executive Director of Central Georgia Partnerships approached Dallemand, who was the Bibb superintendent, about a potential project, called Macon Promise Neighborhood (MPN). Dallemand rejected the idea. But sometime between 2011 and 2012, the indictment says Whitby and Dallemand met again – this time Whitby asked for $1 million per year for 10 years to fund the MPN. Whitby offered Dallamand $100,000 annually for 1o years. That bribe, according to the indictment, was for Dallemand’s “continued support” of the MPN. Dallemand allegedly took that bribe and in June 2012, the Bibb County Board of Education approved the project.
Later that year, the Bibb County School District wrote a $1 million check to Whitby’s group, Central Georgia Partnerships.
Over the course of the next six years, the indictment accuses Whitby of paying Dallemand around $400,000 dollars on six different occasions. Most recently, on April 2, 2017, Whitby allegedly met Dallemand at a restaurant in south Georgia, and payed him $24,000 in cash.
Also facing bribery charges is 69-year-old Harold Knowles of Florida. He’s accused of being the middle-man and giving many of Whitby’s payments to Dallemand. Knowles allegedly used his business to launder money, and as the CEO of Pinnacle, began an agreement with Dallemand and the school district to provide computer software – which was never used. Whitby faces charges for laundering money as well.
According to a release from the United States Attorney for Middle Georgia, Dallemand faces up to three years in prison.
In 2014, Dallemand admitted under-reporting his income and over-reporting his deductions. He also failed to report an unauthorized payment of $100,000, which was intended to influence him to perform actions in his position of Superintendent.
Whitby is currently out on $1,500 bond. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
The 54-year-old Whitby is not allowed to leave Georgia or communicate with Dallemand.