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Corruption in Clayton County

11:00 PM, Oct 1, 2013   |    comments
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JONESBORO, Ga. -- Clayton County is being told to clean up its act! A Special Purpose Grand Jury has delivered a damning report, rife with accusations of corruption on the way the county is being run.

READ WHAT'S WRONG | The grand jury's report on Clayton County Corruption

"We spent 2 and a half years on this and it was appalling some of the things we heard," said Grand Juror member Keturah Henley.

Nepotism, abuse of power and misuse of public funds - just some of the findings by the Special Purpose Grand Jury which has already led to some indictments of public officials and more could be on the way.

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"It was mainly the issue of money and the way it was handled and the abuse of power," Henley said. 

Henley was one of 23 jurors who heard more than 70 days of evidence from 120 witnesses. When they were done they wrote, 'this body was continually shocked, saddened, appalled and dismayed at the state of affairs in Clayton County.'

Elected or hired officials were accused of using their office to hire friends and using taxpayer money for personal interests. 

The Grand Jury focused on the County Commissioners, the Sheriff's Office, the Olde Towne Morrow Project - a 20 million dollar debacle, the finance department, the Clayton County Water Authority and alleged voter fraud in the city of Lovejoy.

Before the investigation was complete, it led to the indictment of Sheriff Victor Hill who was later acquitted. Former Lovejoy Mayor Joe Murphy resigned and agreed to never run for office again and the former Clayton Water Authority manager pled guilty to misconduct.

"If the truth leads us to pursue indictments I will do so no matter where or what the backlash might be," Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said, after the Special Grand Jury read it's report to Clayton County Superior Court Judge Matthew Simmons. 

The Grand Jury was most distressed over County Commissioners accused of corruption who refused to cooperate in the investigation.

"And what about the fact that none of the elected officials would come and answer your questions?", asked 11Alive reporter Ross McLaughlin. 

"Oh that really got to us," Henley replied.

The Special Purpose Grand Jury examined evidence from 2006 to 2012 and wanted to keep going but the Judge disbanded the group and thanked them for their service. 

It was hugs all around from the District Attorney when it was over. 99 recommendations were made. 

"It tells me things need to change," Henley said.

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