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Allen must 'show just cause' or face removal by governor

Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 6:21 PM
Last updated Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 1:54 AM
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Columbia County Tax Com­mis­sioner Kay Allen has 10 days to explain her actions to Gov. Nathan Deal – or face removal from office.

So said a letter sent Tuesday from the governor’s office in response to a Dec. 23 letter from the Columbia Coun­ty Commission that sought Deal’s intervention in a controversy over Allen’s receiving thousands in additional compensation for collecting taxes for Harlem and Grovetown.

Commissioners contend that the payments, which amount to more than $30,000 each year, should have gone to the county to reimburse it for expenses and use of resources to collect the city taxes, not into Allen’s personal bank account.

“The Columbia County Board of Commissioners has provided to this office information which indicates the Commission believes fees have been collected from municipalities contrary to state law,” the governor’s letter states. It says Allen must “show just cause” as to why she “should not be removed from office.”

Allen has directed all inquiries about the situation to her attorney, Douglas Chalmers Jr., who would not discuss what his client’s response might be.

“We have received the letter and will respond in due course,” Chalmers said.

County officials are looking at other options to recover money paid to Allen for municipal tax collections. Over the past five years, those payments have totaled more than $160,000.

“At the end of the day, Co­lum­bia County needs to be made whole,” Coun­ty Admin­is­trator Scott Johnson said.

He said the county is hoping to obtain the services of another lawyer outside of the Au­gusta area to consult on the issue.

“We are in the process of trying to obtain counsel to explore our options,” he said. “If there is money owed to us, we need to get it back.”

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bright idea
860
Points
bright idea 01/10/14 - 07:34 pm
12
1
I predict

Columbia County will have this money in a matter of weeks, if not days, Mrs. Allen will retire and we will never hear about this again.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 01/10/14 - 07:37 pm
13
0
I agree ..
Unpublished

Ms. Allen is looking for the exit.

Riverman1
90291
Points
Riverman1 01/10/14 - 07:40 pm
13
2
Criminal charges?

Criminal charges? Doesn't the DA have the case now?

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 01/10/14 - 09:17 pm
11
0
Riverman1, I have wondered

Riverman1, I have wondered the same thing. I was hoping that the GBI or FBI would have been brought in from the start.

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 01/10/14 - 09:18 pm
2
1
.

.

CobaltGeorge
170122
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/10/14 - 09:23 pm
9
2
Title

"Allen must 'show just cause' or face removal by governor"

can anybody tell me, How in the heck could she come up with a "JUST CAUSE" for the crime she has committed? That is totally impossible@!@!

536
Points
Lakeside95 01/10/14 - 09:28 pm
11
1
Really?

The 'county must be made whole'... Are you kidding me? Scott Johnson, Steve Sobieski, the ENTIRE Commission were ALL aware of this and other issues involving Kay Allen. Which means the Commissioner Charles Allen was well aware of all the discussions in Ex Session, all the discussions on the Commission offices and all the discussions over the phone and in person.

This is ludicrous that the DA has not brought this before the Grand Jury. Wait...never mind. Can't have political allies tried in public.

Has anyone figured out that one person who was well-aware of the illegal payments would be a former Harlem City Council member, a former Harlem Mayor and a former Columbia County Commissioner from District 4 (Grovetown and Harlem)? All those people would know.

Wait! That is ONE PERSON.

SCOTT DEAN

It would be great to ask him for comment (he has a lot of comments I know, I asked him today) but he's currently unavailable because he's in state prison. Oddly enough several of the people who could bring him home are up to their eyeballs in this Allen mess. Hmmm.

scoopdedoop64
2488
Points
scoopdedoop64 01/10/14 - 09:50 pm
16
0
Different Standard

If this had been anyone of us "regular people" in a regular job we would be in jail. Its wrong that there is a different standard for politician and the common man. We have seen it happen over and over again.

mll
828
Points
mll 01/10/14 - 10:08 pm
12
1
There are enough inconsistencies in this story

to warrant a closer look. I agree with the first comment that Mrs. Allen will write a check to the county & retire & the slate will be wiped clean. In doing this it will clear all those who knew about these improprieties yet refused to report them. In my opinion, the improprieties that have been discovered are most likely the tip of the iceberg that we'll never see as those in charge will not push for a full investigation. A full investigation will possibly uncover a bigger scandal than Columbia County will want to discover. It appears to me that if you have one county official doing something wrong, it would make sense that other county officials had some knowledge of what was going on. It would have to be assumed that Commissioner Charles Allen knew exactly what was happening & I'll bet the farm that others knew also. So watch closely, first Mrs. Allen will apologize but claim ignorance, then apologize & write a check & then apologize & retire. Her husband depending on the loyalty of the rest of the commission will either offer to resign or just apologize for the huge misunderstanding of which he will claim ignorance & then continue to serve. The rest of Columbia County officials will breathe a huge sigh & say we need to move forward, that the mistake that Mrs. Allen made could have been an accidental error & that by dragging it through court would cost the county too much & we need to recover our costs & move on. Sound familiar?

jbartley
611
Points
jbartley 01/10/14 - 10:13 pm
8
1
Sobieski

Lakeside 95 is right Steve Sobieski and Ron Cross new the law changed in 2007 they went to classes put on by UGA each year, sign in documents will prove that. The commission never voted to collect the taxes when the 50 thousand threshold was crossed in 2009. be careful when you throw rocks, when you live in a glass house.

itsanotherday1
46849
Points
itsanotherday1 01/10/14 - 11:11 pm
9
1
So, how do you get past the

So, how do you get past the power structure to get a full, unbiased investigation?

As much as I hate to say it, it is too bad this isn't a federal issue so the Feds could investigate. I'm sure the Obama administration would love to skewer a Republican stronghold.
I would be OK with it because I want every stinking, self serving politician out of office; especially conservatives since we claim to hold our representatives to a higher standard.

Lee Benedict
1649
Points
Lee Benedict 01/11/14 - 12:39 am
5
1
I put in a request to the State:

"Therefore, I am asking you for a copy of any and all sign in, sign out, attendance records signed by any person or persons from and/or representing Columbia County, Georgia for any and all training classes/seminars that pertained to the aforementioned 2007 law and for training related to the manner in which tax commissioners may receive compensation from towns, cities, villages for services rendered for the time period of CY 2006 to the present."

Let's see what happens.

536
Points
Lakeside95 01/11/14 - 02:43 am
6
1
Don't hold your breath

Do you really believe any records proving that Commissioners or County staff were aware of illegal activities would still exist?

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 01/11/14 - 05:33 am
6
5
Any Illegal aspect would have

Any Illegal aspect would have occured after 2009 when Columbia County crossed the 50,000 number. Which would mean when Scott Dean was mayor, it wasn't illegal therefore he wouldn't have anything to say about that time frame. Also, after he became a commissioner he probably didn't even realize it was a violation. Commissioners don't know tax laws any more than regular joe citizens.

So much for your "That's why they are keeping him quiet in prison."

People will say just about anything when they blindly support someone.

Riverman1
90291
Points
Riverman1 01/11/14 - 08:23 am
13
0
Law Breaking Can't Be Ignored

I wouldn't give her breaks for her pocketing the fees before 2009 either. Although it may have been legal at that time because the county had not passed the threshold, she never cleared keeping those fees with the Commission or anyone else. She just did it. County resources, money and personnel were used to actually do the work for the towns. The whole thing just stinks.

We do know it was breaking the law after 2009 and that should be prosecuted. But it was not only breaking THAT law, but also misappropriation of county resources which is also criminal activity. I'm waiting to see what the DA does. The law breaking simply can't be ignored.

Dixieman
16485
Points
Dixieman 01/11/14 - 07:36 am
1
9
Well...

...she did the exact same thing over many years.
Before 2009 it was legal.
After 2009 it was not unless some additional paperwork was signed.
Not exactly first degree murder.
And there are too many laws and regulations in our country -- no one can keep up with all of them.
Don't personally know and am not related to anyone involved here.

Riverman1
90291
Points
Riverman1 01/11/14 - 08:09 am
13
1
Not Tearing Labels Off

"And there are too many laws and regulations in our country -- no one can keep up with all of them."

This is hardly tearing labels off of mattresses. It was a 2007 law that was implemented to stop this exact situation. She knew it. She knew in 2009 what she was doing was then illegal. She never paid the county for using county resources for her personal gain. Over a hundred and sixty thousand dollars should have gone to the county. This is huge. Interesting that she thought the missing $50 was such a big deal, but $160,000 PLUS the price of using county resources is not.

truthfinder
123
Points
truthfinder 01/11/14 - 08:18 am
7
3
County resources

Would using your employees to perform personal errands, correspondence, etc. be considered misappropriation of county resources? If so the former deputy tax commissioner owes the county a huge amount of money too...

Riverman1
90291
Points
Riverman1 01/11/14 - 08:25 am
8
1
Truthfinder, is that the guy

Truthfinder, is that the guy whom Allen made walk around Kroger all day for a week as punishment? If he did the things you say, sure it's wrong and illegal. But I'll guess if he sues for his unusual and weird punishment he will come out ahead.

truthfinder
123
Points
truthfinder 01/11/14 - 08:26 am
0
10
Same guy

Yes it is the same guy. Aside from the tax issue, he truly just has a vendetta against Mrs. Allen. This nonsense about her being an intimidating bully is ridiculous. There are many who think his conduct needs to be exposed in case he plans to run for tax commissioner. It's pretty bad.

Riverman1
90291
Points
Riverman1 01/11/14 - 08:36 am
13
0
About Her Bullying

" This nonsense about her being an intimidating bully is ridiculous."

I wouldn't vote for him and I'm certainly not taking up for him if he did illegal things too. But to say she wasn't an intimidating bully is puzzling. From all accounts she was to him and others in the office. Her punishment making him walk around Kroger was bizarre. She had a deputy accompany her to his house. There's certainly a bullying pattern with her.

Junior Dawg
309
Points
Junior Dawg 01/11/14 - 08:40 am
12
0
It's wrong,

regardless of grudges being held and commissioners being stupid, Ms. Allen should be on trial for theft. Her actions were unacceptable and us regular folks would be in jail right now for what she did. If I had taken, I mean stolen 160k from my employer, I doubt I would be able to blame it on any one else and get away with it. I don't know the background story like a few other posters above do, but I hope no one makes excuses for her actions.

truthfinder
123
Points
truthfinder 01/11/14 - 08:41 am
0
10
There's a reason she took a

There's a reason she took a deputy with her, I'll leave it at that. And I haven't seen one single account from other employees about mistreatment by Mrs. Allen. Seems odd that out of.all her past employees no one is supporting the former deputy tc in his accusations.

Riverman1
90291
Points
Riverman1 01/11/14 - 08:59 am
9
1
"There's a reason she took a

"There's a reason she took a deputy with her, I'll leave it at that. And I haven't seen one single account from other employees about mistreatment by Mrs. Allen."

I have and I'll leave it at that.

536
Points
Lakeside95 01/11/14 - 09:09 am
6
2
Illegal

Until 2009 while her actions were legal, the Mayors and City Councils of both cities were concerned with revenue going to a private individual. As for the Commission, when you are married to the Tax Commissioner and/or you attend taxpayer funded training, you SHOULD know what is legal.

Plus, these fees are the tip of the iceberg. Do you really believe the FBI, IRS and GBI would be involved if it was just a questionable interpretation of the law?

What about double charging for per diem payments? What about improper reimbursements?

But you are right, poor Dean couldn't be kept in prison for this reason. I'm sure the DA, the Commisson and the County Attorney are following the letter of the law with Kay Allen, just as they would if anyone else was accused.

536
Points
Lakeside95 01/11/14 - 09:12 am
5
1
Side Note

I wish all this 'innocent until proven guilty' talk had been around for Dean.

iaaffg
3144
Points
iaaffg 01/11/14 - 09:21 am
7
1
there's a special place
Unpublished

there's a special place waiting for all these politicians and their associates. it's called hell. must be mighty crowded there, and only going to get worse. good luck, all you mooching politicos!

Truth Matters
7825
Points
Truth Matters 01/11/14 - 09:45 am
2
3
I truly can appreciate the

I truly can appreciate the measured conversation about this matter.

I wish this same tone were exercised when discussing Richmond County politicians as opposed to painting the voters and elected officials as idiots.

SON of Scoob
442
Points
SON of Scoob 01/11/14 - 09:51 am
9
1
"Absolutely the money is mine"

Good bye Kay Allen, your arrogance has taken you down.

Lee Benedict
1649
Points
Lee Benedict 01/11/14 - 11:17 am
7
1
truthfinder,

regardless of how who feels about whom, the FACTS are still that, no?

Kay did go bonkers over $56 and fired her #2;
she KNEW what SHE was doing was illegal. She is the Tax Commissioner, correct? Are you telling us that she had no idea of state laws governing her compensation? There's a reason why I asked the State for the sign-in/out logs as others within Columbia County government must have been aware, and such logs for mandatory training are public record

As for Scott Dean, I was not at the trial when evidence was presented and refuted, but if he knows something about the Kay Allen situation, I would hope that he would come forth or have someone come forth on his behalf.

FYI, the Allens were at a function at Be My Guest on Thursday evening, and, I saw Kay in the Kroger in Question Friday and I really really wanted to make a sarcastic comment...in retrospect, I should have.

BTW, if she is so innocent and "absolutely that's my money", why the high-priced Atlanta-based attorney to go along with local counsel? If you did nothing wrong, tell the media and do not hide behind a cavalcade of lawyers.

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