The GBI said Wednesday morning that its probe into allegations of public corruption in the Pendergrass city government had not yet begun.
That contrasts sharply with what Pendergrass Mayor Monk Tolbert told a standing room only crowd at the town’s Tuesday night council meeting when he indicated the GBI investigation into the city was over.
Tolbert read a letter that said, “We have been advised today that the investigation by the GBI and District Attorney cleared our City Court of any wrongful conduct or ticketfixing. Also there is no issue of any criminal act regarding our SPLOST expenditures.”
Tolbert said there were some “personnel” matters about “other issues,” but left the clear impression that the town had already been investigated and was cleared of all allegations.
“No, the investigation is not over,” said GBI official Jim Fullington. “We just got the letter (from District Attorney Brad Smith asking for the investigation) this morning (Wednesday).”
Pendergrass has come under fire following the release of information from three city whistleblowers in July that indicate corruption in the town’s government. Tuesday night’s council meeting was the first time the group had met since the allegations surfaced.
A large group of around 85 residents turned out for the meeting with 18 addressing the council. Much of their anger was directed at city manager Rob Russell, who also serves as police chief.
Meredith Davison told the council, “It is embarrassing to say that we live in Pendergrass.”
Davison reported to the council that she called to set up a birthday event for her son and when she told the person on the other end of the phone that she lived in Pendergrass, they laughed at her.
For the full story on Pendergrass recent actions, see the Aug. 26 issue of The Jackson Herald.