Twiggs County Commissioner Speaks Out Against Board’s Alleged Misuse Of Public Funds
A Macon man is suing the Twiggs County Commissioners for what he calls “misuse of public funds,” and one of the men being sued feels there should be a lawsuit.
“It takes lawsuits at times to bring stuff to the forefront,” says Twiggs County Commissioner Tommie Lee Bryant.
Bryant agrees that his fellow commissioners haven’t been responsible with taxpayer money. That’s why Walter Ashby, a citizen of Twiggs County, is suing the board of commissioners. He says they violated a 1983 Court Order that says “having county crews and equipment work on private property is indeed illegal and constitutes an improper use of public monies…”
He says the commissioners violated that order by using taxpayer money for work at the Old Marion Baptist Church, private property that had at that time burned down.
“The county’s broke–been broke. We’re at $1.9 million in the hole right now,” says Ashby.
Commissioner Bryant says he applauds Mr. Ashby’s actions as a citizen of Twiggs County, but he also says he had no knowledge that public funds were being used to work on private property.
“If I had known about it, I would have gotten in touch with the sheriff,” Bryant says. “I would have prohibited this from happening because the court ordered prohibits us from working on private property.”
A hearing is scheduled for September 1 at the Twiggs County Courthouse. Ashby says he wants the commissioners to pay the money back used during the work at Old Marion Baptist. He also says, if the judge sees fit, they should be put in jail for 20 days for contempt of court.
“I’d hate to see it come to that, but I’m not the person making the call,” Ashby says. “They had their opportunities before now to go ahead and get it fixed by reimbursing the county coffers the monies that had been spent. They should be good stewards of the counties money.”
Ashby says he warned the commissioners five times that he was going to take the case to court. No one listened. Commissioner Bryant says that’s because his fellow commissioners don’t seem to care.
“They went ahead and did it because they don’t care,” says Bryant. “To me, if you know the law says you can’t do something and you go and do it, you say ‘Well, hey, what can the law do to me? I’m the law, I can do what I want to do.’ I’m not sitting around that table to have friends. I’m a commissioner, and so I’m gonna do what the people have put me there to do.”
41NBC tried reaching out to the other Twiggs county commissioners for comment, but we were told they were advised by their lawyer to refrain from comment.