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No evidence ex-administrator Fred Russell violated law, GBI says

Monday, March 10, 2014 4:40 PM
Last updated Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:54 AM
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The Georgia Bureau of Investi­ga­tion says it found no evidence that former City Administrator Fred Rus­sell violated any laws regarding his hard drive and its missing files.

Russell
Russell


The agency determined that “no evidence existed to substantiate a criminal violation of the law” after reviewing its findings with the district attorney’s office, according to a statement from GBI Special Agent in Charge Pat Morgan on Monday. The GBI is no longer involved in the case.

Commissioner Marion Williams, whose request to see Russell’s work gave rise to the preliminary review, said he accepts the decision but still wants to know where the files are.

“If they’re not on the computer, where are they?” he asked.

On Feb. 11, Williams submitted a written request to Richmond Coun­ty Sheriff Richard Roundtree seeking a preliminary investigation into the disappearance of official city records from the hard drive of Russell’s city-owned computer.

In the letter, Williams reminded Round­tree that city records are covered under Georgia’s open record laws and record retention schedules for county government. Georgia laws govern the retention of government documents, including e-mails, based on their content.

Roundtree responded Feb. 18, saying he would forward Williams’ request to the GBI and the secretary of state’s office.

Morgan said the GBI’s Thomson post received the request Feb. 24.

Russell served as city administrator for nearly a decade until the Augusta Commission fired him without cause Dec. 9, effective at the end of last year.

After much debate, Williams’ request to access Russell’s computer files was granted, but the city law department provided only a small number of documents in response.

“Any time you tamper with the records of the city, that’s a violation,” Williams said. “We’re at the mercy of the department heads now; they can do everything they want.”

Interim City Administrator and Information Technology Director Tameka Allen has denied that IT staff helped delete Russell’s files from his computer or the city network.

A local television reporter has said Russell told him, off camera, that Russell deleted the files.

Staff Writer Susan McCord contributed to this story.

Comments (33) Add comment
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Darby
28257
Points
Darby 03/10/14 - 03:52 pm
15
3
Well, Marion, time to look

for some other rocks to turn over and look under.

Navy Gary
1615
Points
Navy Gary 03/10/14 - 04:02 pm
13
3
Ummm...

Ummm...After Marion pays his taxes, perhaps the GBI will send him a bill with "wild goose chase" as a header....lol.

IBeDogGone
3015
Points
IBeDogGone 03/10/14 - 04:28 pm
13
3
Bill Needed

The other commisioners need to get an itemized bill and present Williams with it for the number of hours he spent on this wild goose chase. No don't bother with a bill it would be just like his taxes, he does not have to pay in a timely manner like the rest of us do.

Sweet son
11067
Points
Sweet son 03/10/14 - 04:41 pm
10
3
Wonder what Marion's reaction will be?

It will make laughable fodder for the local video media's top story of the day. He is an interesting character and probably has his heart in the right place but he isn't able to control that mouth which tells everyone how uneducated he is every time he opens it!

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 03/10/14 - 05:38 pm
8
3
GBI should look

Closely at the finances of the city and who is getting paid off instead of chasing fairy tales concerning fired employees...so Augusta!

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 03/10/14 - 06:25 pm
6
3
Does anyone even really know

Does anyone even really know if there were files deleted or was Russell shooting off the mouth knowing it would get back to Williams and stirring crap up just so Williame has egg on his face?

willie7
1047
Points
willie7 03/10/14 - 06:26 pm
0
0
We people in the 9th
Unpublished

We people in the 9th district need to recall Marion Williams.
He is an embarrassment to the citizens of Augusta. He is an obstructionist!!! We need forward thinking commissioners to move Augusta forward. I hope the citizens of Augusta will not elect the ministers, Ivey and Garrison, to the Commission; they are friends of Marion Williams

sawgrass
2230
Points
sawgrass 03/10/14 - 07:12 pm
9
3
thank you

Bravo to the FBI with their findings. Hopefully Morion Williams will focus his energy in some other direction. Morion Williams should be required to reimburse the taxpayer of Richmond County, of which I am one.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 03/10/14 - 08:04 pm
7
7
Concerning re-imbursement…..

…..Fred Russell ought to reimburse the county for his pay the last twelve years and the monies that were (ahem) used to fund white elephants like the TEE Center…ALL facilitated with his active participation and direction…

I'm less concerned about the few thousand bucks Mr. Williams cost this city than I am about the many MILLIONS Fred Russell cost this city….

Pops
12136
Points
Pops 03/10/14 - 08:46 pm
8
2
The hard drive is meaningless

In a big time operation (which I'm sure Augusta qualifies) anything meaningful like e-mails, which I think it what Williams is interested in, are all backed up on a network drive. Has nothing to do with the local hard drive. Marion only know how to say "hard drive" cause someone told him that is in a computer. He thinks that makes him literate........

dichotomy
36044
Points
dichotomy 03/10/14 - 10:00 pm
9
2
Russell 2 - Williams 0

Russell 2 - Williams 0

blues550
380
Points
blues550 03/10/14 - 10:46 pm
0
0
Stranded
Unpublished

Austin Rhodes, Marion Williams and th aeir cabal are stranded up the proverbial creek...paddle floating away.

showboat
365
Points
showboat 03/10/14 - 10:50 pm
0
0
Mr. Williams just move on and
Unpublished

Mr. Williams just move on and do something good for Richmond county!!!!!!!!

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 03/11/14 - 04:30 am
4
3
Can someone explain why my

Can someone explain why my comment was removed. I don't recall saying anything inappropriate. Seems odd that you can call Mr. Williams "Morion" more than once in your post and it remains?

freeradical
1144
Points
freeradical 03/11/14 - 04:50 am
2
2
Pot , meet Kettle .

Some nerve any one of the slippery snakes that comprise

Augusta's abortion of a government have insinuating that there is

honor among thieves .

Unbelievable
86
Points
Unbelievable 03/11/14 - 06:19 am
4
2
Really?

The whole thing is a farce and a waste of taxpayer money. The fact that Williams got elected again just proves how many uneducated voters there are out there.

nocnoc
46914
Points
nocnoc 03/11/14 - 06:27 am
2
2
Will there and investigation

into the taxpayer costs of Mr. Williams antics?

By the way having done a lot of ITS Investigations I noted the careful wording used in the Press release

"...it found no evidence that former City Administrator Fred Rus­sell violated any laws regarding his hard drive and its missing files."

Which seems to leave open unanswered question :

What about ARC level record retention violations at State & Federal levels?

Little Lamb
47852
Points
Little Lamb 03/11/14 - 07:21 am
4
2
Air Rights

It would make interesting reading to see the contents of E-mails back and forth between Russell and contract attorney Jim Plunkett regarding the land fiasco surrounding the parking deck. Remember, the land belonged to the Morris empire and that LLC wanted to sell the city only the air rights above the land. Plunkett told Fred that was a good idea and Fred (What, me worry?) went along like a little lamb.

dichotomy
36044
Points
dichotomy 03/11/14 - 07:29 am
9
2
"Can someone explain why my

"Can someone explain why my comment was removed."

Me too ICL. They took down my original post last night and didn't even send me a love note to say why. I really don't care. What I said was valid and I stand by it. Politicians should be fair game for any comment including being called stupid for the decisions they make.

Marinerman1
5255
Points
Marinerman1 03/11/14 - 07:48 am
6
1
Next Time

Having gone down this rabbit path twice I think, maybe the next time Marion Williams wants something investigated, hopefully the Commission will tell him to shut up and sit down. I still don't understand how he got re-elected to the Commission AGAIN !!

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/11/14 - 07:53 am
6
1
Marion Williams' question reveals the abyss of his ignorance

If he knew the first thing about computers and computer files, he would never have asked "where" the files are if they aren't being found on Fred's computer.

They're NOWHERE, Marion. (Do you rewind your DVDs before taking them back to Red Box, Marion?)

Bizkit
34147
Points
Bizkit 03/11/14 - 07:58 am
4
2
If Marion would spend as much

If Marion would spend as much time doing his job as he does scrutinizing others labors then something might get done about real problems and issues. I think it reveals his mindset-you look for lazy people and dishonesty if that is your frame of reference and activity. Like it is always the racist and homophobes who first bring up the issue of race and gay.

itsanotherday1
46695
Points
itsanotherday1 03/11/14 - 07:56 am
3
1
Wouldn't it be a hoot if

Wouldn't it be a hoot if Russell "leaked" that info to a reporter just to send Marion on a snipe hunt.

internationallyunknown
4631
Points
internationallyunknown 03/11/14 - 08:26 am
3
3
"You win...no I win!"

Who has really "won" in this fiasco?

Deep down everyone KNOWS shady dealings were going on.

HOPEFULLY THE NEXT MAYOR WILL HAVE A BACKBONE.

internationallyunknown
4631
Points
internationallyunknown 03/11/14 - 08:27 am
2
3
To those who wonder Part 2

"How Marion got elected. All one needs to do is drive through his district and look at the "informed voters" and all your questions will be answered."

"How ANY OF AUGUSTA'S ELECTED OFFICIALS got elected. All one needs to do is drive through THE CITY and look at the "informed voters" and all your questions will be answered."

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 03/11/14 - 08:35 am
3
3
Although not exact wording

Although not exact wording itsanotherday1 (8:56a) but my comment exactly. By the way, it got removed so don't be surprised if yours vanishes too.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 03/11/14 - 08:35 am
4
2
Who cares!
Unpublished

The city of augusta is a lost cause and as a resident I have totally given up on anything this local government does now or in the future.
I will no longer be concerned about what the commissioners do as I look into their education and the schools the graduated from I can understand their ineptness and they honestly think they are great. Think about it, nobody even wants a key to this city as witnessed by the mayor's reception was cancelled for lack of interest. What a fiasco!

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 03/11/14 - 09:42 am
4
1
HOPEFULLY THE NEXT MAYOR WILL HAVE A BACKBONE.

Sorry but the charter was written so that commissioners can play games and remove the mayor as a viable office...I look for that to change once the commission balance shifts to what the majority population reflects...

Darby
28257
Points
Darby 03/11/14 - 10:49 am
2
2
"I look for that to change once the commission

balance shifts to what the majority population reflects..."

Nope, not gonna happen as long as commission members are slaves to their own egos.

And then there's the way the charter is written. If that's not changed by law, don't look for any sudden new direction in the way any Augusta mayor does, or does not do, his/her job.

Bizkit
34147
Points
Bizkit 03/11/14 - 11:54 am
0
1
What I love is I predicted

What I love is I predicted this exact scenario-the GBI would take a bit and issue a report of nothing to pursue. Gosh either I'm a freakin' genius, clairvoyant, or this was just too dang obvious. I think the later.

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