Wednesday, June 18, 2008
AJC reports that DeKalb Commissioners ask for criminal probe of purchases
The AJC By TY TAGAMI, 06/17/08
Three DeKalb County commissioners are calling for a criminal investigation of purchases that violated county and state policies intended to ensure competitive bidding and spending oversight.
Recent audits found that contracts for technology services in the administration of Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones routinely violated purchasing rules. None of the reviews found any wrong-doing, which was beyond their purview.
Commissioner Jeff Rader noted that the auditors lacked the power of a grand jury to subpoena witnesses under oath and that the grand jury that ended in March issued a report calling for further investigation. The grand jury's report recommended that a subsequent grand jury investigate "piecemeal" and "no bid" purchases and that the accounting firm KPMG, which conducted the audit for the county, be retained to advise them.
Rader said a criminal investigation would "clear the air." He said he will send a letter to District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming and the Superior Court chief judge asking that a special grand jury be empaneled. He said two other DeKalb commissioners — Elaine Boyer and Kathie Gannon — have signed the letter so far.
Asked about the letter, Jones issued a written statement through DeKalb spokesperson Kristie Swink that said the district attorney needed no "political persuasion."
"I have full confidence that her office will do what is proper, appropriate and in the best interest for the citizens of DeKalb County," the statement said.
A spokesperson for the district attorney said Keyes Fleming is not investigating the matter but has talked with county commissioners about it. Jada Hudspeth said Keyes Fleming told the commissioners she was reviewing "all of the documents that I currently have before deciding the next course of action."