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Columbia County Commission to ask for governor's intervention in Kay Allen controversy

Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 7:02 PM
Last updated Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 9:36 AM
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Columbia County commissioners intend to seek intervention from Gov. Nathan Deal to resolve the ongoing situation with Tax Commissioner Kay Allen.

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Columbia County Tax Commissioner Kay Allen has missed work most of the week, making only a brief appearance Wednesday.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
Columbia County Tax Commissioner Kay Allen has missed work most of the week, making only a brief appearance Wednesday.

Commission Chairman Ron Cross said officials have drafted a letter notifying the governor of “alleged misconduct” on the part of Allen, involving additional compensation she collected for decades from Harlem and Grovetown without the commission’s knowledge or consent.

Cross said the letter will be discussed and voted on at a special called commission meeting at 9 a.m. Monday at the Evans Government Complex.

“We will go into executive session and discuss it, and then we will come out to discuss it and vote on it,” Cross said.

Should commissioners approve the letter, the governor has 10 days to decide on a course of action, which could include removing Allen from office, Cross said. He could also choose to not act and let the criminal investigation run its course, he said.

Allen’s agreements with the two cities have been the subject of a joint investigation of the FBI and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for more than two months. Some of the payments appear to violate a state law that took effect in 2007. The law stipulates that agreements to collect city taxes in counties with more than 50,000 parcels have to be made by the county governing authority, not the tax commissioner.

Columbia County crossed the 50,000 threshold in 2009. Since that time, Allen has collected more than $160,000 in additional compensation from Harlem and Grovetown – 2 percent of each city’s property taxes.

Sheriff’s investigators turned over their files to Augusta District Attorney Ashley Wright’s office on Friday, sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said.

“After a complete and thorough investigation into allegations against Tax Commissioner Kay Allen, we have delivered our files to the District Attorney’s Office,” Morris said.

Wright said it will take a while to review the sheriff’s files and she expects more investigative information to be coming her way from the FBI.

“This was a joint investigation, so I would expect that another file would be forthcoming,” she said.

Dwight Johnson, Allen’s former deputy tax commissioner who was fired in October, said he first met ith the FBI in August to report suspicious activity he had observed in the Tax Commissioner’s Office.

That activity included improper use of county vehicles and checks from Harlem and Grovetown in envelopes marked “confidential,” Johnson said.

“I did not know exactly what was going on,” said Johnson, who also reported what he knew to county officials in October, just before Allen fired him for alleged “misappropriation” of $55 cash from the Appling Tag office. Johnson said the firing was about personal conflicts and the fact he planned to run for tax commissioner in 2016.

Johnson said Allen told him he wasn’t trusted anymore and reduced his work responsibilities to the point where he had little to do.

Allen has said she was concerned about Johnson’s judgment after the $55 went missing in July. She said she had intended to discipline him before he suddenly went on 12 weeks of medical leave later that month.

Johnson said the stress from work resulted in health problems related to his heart, which is why he took the leave. When he returned from leave, Johnson said Allen refused to allow him to come back to the Tax Commissioner’s office in Evans. Instead she ordered him to report to Kroger and stay there for eight hours.

On Oct. 18, she came to his house with a sheriff’s deputy, demanding that he either resign or be fired.

“She is a bully,” Johnson said. “I was the type of employee that didn’t ask questions. That’s why I survived for 15 years.”

Calls to the Allen home and cell phone were not answered Friday, but rumors swirled that she was tendering her resignation. Those rumors were reported in some media outlets, but turned out to have no validity.

Augusta attorney and close friend of Allen, Jack Long said he had spoken to her and a resignation was not on the table.

“I can tell you that she is not even considering that,” he said.

The rumors of her departure were perhaps fed by Allen’s absence from her office all week.

The one exception was a brief appearance on Wednes­day when she came in to swear in a new deputy tax com­missioner. Steve Adams, who has held a position as an accountant in Allen’s office since 2001, was tapped for the position.

“When I got appointed, that was strictly out of the blue,” Adams said. “It was all news to me.”

Johnson said Adams was the person who first tipped him off to the suspicious payments from Harlem and Grovetown.

“That was about two years ago,” Johnson said.

Adams said he would not comment on the investigation. The former assistant controller and administrator at Medical College of Georgia said he intends to keep things running smoothly during this time of uncertainty.

“I just want to try to help them keep the work flowing as normal and continue to help the citizens of Columbia County,” he said.

Comments (43) Add comment
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iminevans
11
Points
iminevans 12/20/13 - 10:29 pm
9
0
Allen Controversy

This seems to be typical behavior of Mrs. Allen. Last year she was caught trying to misappropriate funds from a local neighborhood association that she was a member of. Thankfully intervention by other members of the association led to a swift end to this seemingly small fau paux on her end. Guess the association was smarter than she thought!

scoopdedoop64
2354
Points
scoopdedoop64 12/20/13 - 10:36 pm
9
1
Question

Will she be arrested in handcuffs like the corner was and then allowed to make bond with an orange jumpsuit? Just wondering!

John Locke
295
Points
John Locke 12/20/13 - 11:49 pm
8
0
Greedy Greedy Greedy

You would think the local elite have enough, but no, they want more. they are not satisfied with what they have, but in this case there is an extreme degree of greed. And I'll bet she goes to church every Sunday too. A fine upstanding member of the community. Stealing from the homeowners association - not surprising. Her arrogance has been her undoing. She needs to resign now and her husband too. The name of Allen is mud now - don't even put up a sign for an election. They need to get out of town on the first Delta flight.

paladin5
299
Points
paladin5 12/21/13 - 12:25 am
11
0
HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT...

The Power and Influence of a Constitutionally Elected Official who serves for Long Periods often morph into arrogant and hostile abuse of subordinates who know "survival" is being a "yes" person. Positive Leadership/management, Respect for other peoples rights and goals, and Abuse of the citizens' Public Trust is Not Uncommon in Politics.

ABUSE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE...and oversight by the County needs to be effective and never assume that Everything is Up and Up.

Whether she "retires" or "resigns" should not derail the investigation and the results should determine the appropriate actions by the Governor and Law Enforcement (Federal and State).

P.S. I would not enjoy it as it would hurt my Integrity and Sense of Purpose...but I guess I would walk around Kroger for 8 hours at $37/hr.....That in itself is a gross abuse of the peoples' resources and a hostile workforce attitude of arrogant power without justification.

paladin5
299
Points
paladin5 12/21/13 - 12:29 am
4
2
Let's Hope....

Let's Hope you was Not "sharing" the rewards of her work with someone else in our Trust. If Adams knew of the Suspicious tax activity, then he is questionnable since he chose to stay quiet and "survive". Don't think he would be a Good Choice as an Interim/Acting replacement (Personally).

martinezguy
16
Points
martinezguy 12/21/13 - 01:20 am
9
1
How unscrupulous can you be......

I'm sure as the investigation continues it will get the truth out on Mrs. Allen's dirty deeds. Here's a simple result of my research ..... She's owns a home on 18.98 acres in prime Evans GA and her tax value is $264,373.00. Also owns another acres of land in the same area valued at $535. I wonder what other family/friends of Mrs. Allen have the same scams on their property values???

I hope she and other non ethical public officials spend time behind bars for their scams against society. Good luck on Monday while all of us regular tax paying citizens get ready for Christmas and you get ready for your farewell to this wonderful county. You should be ashamed of yourself!!!

Stunned 2
3679
Points
Stunned 2 12/21/13 - 06:08 am
3
0
Is she a CPA?

Does any one know her educational background? I heard that she is Columbia County's highest paid employee. Is her undergraduate degree in Accounting, Finance, Business Admin., or something else? Does she have a MBA? or a CPA?

Bodhisattva
5875
Points
Bodhisattva 12/21/13 - 07:22 am
1
0
Any relation to Rick Allen,

Any relation to Rick Allen, the guy running for Congress?

Riverman1
81447
Points
Riverman1 12/21/13 - 08:14 am
8
0
Allen Appointing Adams

It sounds like Allen appointing Steve Adams the deputy this week she didn't know he is the one who told on her to Johnson. He doesn't sound too friendly toward her. Heh, heh, heh.

Riverman1
81447
Points
Riverman1 12/21/13 - 08:20 am
8
0
Another Case

Remember the $200,000 of county money she tried to keep a couple of years ago to remodel her office. The Commission had to fight to get that money from her. Yes, I'd look into the taxes on her property, too. I know I dang sure pay a fortune in taxes and would hate to think things are not fair.

I see her attitude saying the money from Harlem and Grovetown as hers as part of a pattern of her being above the law with dominating behavior. She probably feels what's the use to be in office if you can't get a little bit on the side. Let's hope the Governor acts quickly and the FBI continues to work with Ashley Wright.

Stunned 2
3679
Points
Stunned 2 12/21/13 - 08:23 am
6
0
She is married to Rick Allen's brother.

But, I would not hastily judge Rick Allen's character on this mess that his relatives seem to have caused & gotten themselves into. I have always heard that he is reputable and has been successful in the business world. (private sector). I think that I might vote for him. (compared to the other candidates that are running.)

IBeDogGone
2941
Points
IBeDogGone 12/21/13 - 08:58 am
8
0
Family

Everyone knows family connections can help and hurt your politically. From what I know of Rick Allen this is one case of his family and their reputation being not a positive aspect. No one can be held responsible for a family members actions unless they are part of the scheme the accused is involved in. I certainly hope this will not hurt his political career.

Riverman1
81447
Points
Riverman1 12/21/13 - 09:05 am
4
3
Charles and Rick Allen worked as a team

Charles and Rick Allen worked as a team. They went together to meet with the Governor for political backing. I can't give Rick Allen a pass with this. It's a shame because I thought he had a good chance at winning.

just an opinion
2476
Points
just an opinion 12/21/13 - 09:56 am
3
0
Slick attorney

She has one of the slickest attorneys around (her brother-in-laws next door neighbor). It will an interesting case to follow step by step. Maybe Columbia County isn't pleasantville after all.

ccres
49
Points
ccres 12/21/13 - 09:55 am
1
4
Homeowner's Association

I'm pretty sure this is another untruth floating around. She doesn't live in a subdivision. Surely if she was accused of such just a year ago there should be a news story link to be found. If not, quit making things up just to make her look worse.

just an opinion
2476
Points
just an opinion 12/21/13 - 10:02 am
8
0
A House AND 19 acres in Evans

Tax value = $264,000 !!! This place must be a dump on the side of a cliff. ?

truthfinder
123
Points
truthfinder 12/21/13 - 10:13 am
2
3
Dwight Johnson

Wow, astonishingly it was the man who now has Dwight's old job who tipped him off. Trying to smear someone else, Mr. Johnson? Dwight is as bad as Mrs. Allen in this, don't be fooled. He did his own share of "alleged misconduct".

truthfinder
123
Points
truthfinder 12/21/13 - 10:14 am
0
2
truthfinder
123
Points
truthfinder 12/21/13 - 10:14 am
0
2
John Locke
295
Points
John Locke 12/21/13 - 10:18 am
6
0
Her Property Taxes

Now I wonder -- does she pay her own property taxes? Who would know besides her? She could even cook the books to make it look like she did. Who does she make her check out to? Herself? I've long felt screwed by the taxes in Columbia County, especially in the last 10 years where they have gone up almost 50-60% in the biggest economic downturn since the depression. Even though the assessors office is separate from the collection office, does that really mean they don't work together? When CC needs money for its next pet project (an outdoor amphetheater) do you not think things happen to make it so? They are all greedy, untrustworthy, church going, upstanding citizens. Notice how the commission is not exactly 100% enthusiastic about cleaning house with her husband on the commission. The old guard needs to go, every one of them.

JRC2024
8285
Points
JRC2024 12/21/13 - 11:03 am
2
1
John, taxes will most likely

John, taxes will most likely head even higher because of the population growth in CC. New roads, schools, parks, employees to service the people and all other things taxpayers want. It is not a sleepy county any more and things have to be built to support it.

Riverman1
81447
Points
Riverman1 12/21/13 - 11:48 am
4
1
Close Connections

Gov. Deal does have close connections to Charles and Rick Allen. So I wonder how the request of the Columbia County Commission will play out?

Bluedove22
7
Points
Bluedove22 12/21/13 - 03:09 pm
5
0
Sad

Sad that we live in a city with such corruption.

Graymare
2875
Points
Graymare 12/21/13 - 12:45 pm
8
0
"On Oct. 18, she came to his

"On Oct. 18, she came to his house with a sheriff’s deputy, demanding that he either resign or be fired." Are you kidding me? How horrible for an employer to invade someone's home! Work really must have been hell on earth!

IBeDogGone
2941
Points
IBeDogGone 12/21/13 - 01:26 pm
2
1
RICK ALLEN

I am not saying he does not have ties to Govenor Deal, most people with political aspirations do try to run in a circle with connections. I will say that it is very possible that he knew nothing about Kay Allen's actions. I will even say her husband might not have known. How many times have you known of people that present themselves entirely as a different person to their family? Yes Jack Long is a neighbor of Allen's and is a friend of Mrs. Allen but that also does not invole Rick Allen unless he was aware of these misappropriate acts.

Lee Benedict
1560
Points
Lee Benedict 12/21/13 - 03:55 pm
3
0
Resign?

If a resignation IS NOT on the table, then do explain http://metrospirit.com/breaking-news-kay-allen-resignation/#.UrXx8Kgo7IU
The Metro Spirit is not real credible, huh?

LillyfromtheMills
12864
Points
LillyfromtheMills 12/21/13 - 06:10 pm
1
0
Not in my wildest dream

Could I dream of being dishonest

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 12/21/13 - 06:36 pm
3
0
Need help understanding this

Could someone please clear something up for me? In addition to the income that Kay Allen was receiving from Harlem and Grovetown, was she using her Columbia County Tax Commissioner staff to do the "administrative work" that she was benefiting from personally? I'll reserve comment until I get some clarification.

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 12/21/13 - 06:39 pm
1
0
As for Governor Deal

Someone needs to clue the governor to the fact that all of us in the CSRA are watching his every move because, after all, he could have put a stop to the renaming of Augusta State University and the Medical College of Georgia but he chose not to! I can't wait for him to come to our area next year when he is in need of our votes for his reelection!

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 12/21/13 - 06:40 pm
0
0
.

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