Whistleblower files lawsuit against Ga. National Guard

ATLANTA -- On the heels of a whistleblower case that cost taxpayers $3 million, the state is facing another lawsuit. This one involves a high-ranking member of the Georgia National Guard.

A former state employee who worked for Adjutant General Jim Butterworth has filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired after raising concerns about unlawful and unethical use of government resources.

Appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, Butterworth took the job as adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard in October of 2011. The job oversees more than 14,000 members. The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, says just a few months into his job, Butterworth was facing an internal military investigation for the improper use of Black Hawk helicopters.


The suit was filed by the Guard's former director of public affairs, Mary Therese Grabowski. She claims she was fired for raising similar questions about what she calls illegal and unethical decision -- questions like why Butterworth was organizing a fundraiser for a private medical center using government resources to host it.

Grabowski also claims she also questioned why Butterworth was attending an air show in Paris at a time when military furloughs and cuts were expected. She says she was told Butterworth would be a guest of the governor's office, but later discovered he had stayed days after the governor left Paris.

Additionally, Grabowski claims she was asked by Butterworth's wife to promote an event for country music singer Kaley Caperton, a personal friend of the Butterworths.

Finally, Grabowski says questioned an event at Turner Field when Butterworth accepted free use of a suite at the Braves game and took family and friends with him. Later she says Butterworth entered into a promotion contract between the team and the Guard.

Grabowski claims that after raising red flags several times about Butterworth, she was told she would be replaced by someone in the military, but that she could remain working in the department.

In the end, her suit says she was terminated for repeatedly blowing the whistle.


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