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Sheriff sends computer file request to GBI

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 11:34 AM
Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 1:54 PM
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 Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the sheriff’s office role in requesting action by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into missing computer files.


Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree has forwarded Commissioner Marion Williams request for a preliminary investigation of missing computer files onto the GBI and Secretary of State’s office for any action those agencies deemed necessary.
The sheriff’s office made no recommendation whether the agencies should investigate disappearance of computer files used by former Augusta City Administrator Fred Russell.

Pat Morgan, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Thomson post, said the bureau received the request Feb. 24 but hasn’t decided whether to open an investigation.

“We haven’t officially opened the case,” Morgan said. “There are some questions that we have about the request, and we have to do a couple of initial interviews.”

Morgan confirmed that Commissioner Marion Williams, who pushed to retrieve the contents of Russell’s computer in January, will be among those interviewed.

Morgan said Sheriff Richard Roundtree’s request was “his prerogative, and we’re more than happy to assist.” He expects the bureau to make a decision about whether to proceed with an investigation by the end of the week.

Russell, a former deputy police chief in Richmond, Va., served as Augusta administrator for nearly a decade until the Augusta Commission fired him without cause Dec. 9, effective at the end of last year.

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

Shortly after, a local television reporter said Russell told him off camera he’d deleted the files. Georgia laws govern the retention of government documents, including emails, based on their content.

Interim City Administrator Tameka Allen, who serves as Information Technology Director, has denied that IT staff helped Russell delete files from his computers or the city network. Russell, who was considering a run for mayor, later cancelled those plans after news broke about the deleted files.

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bright idea
679
Points
bright idea 03/05/14 - 12:44 pm
14
3
This could backfire

Might find some dirt on Marion and other commissioners.

dichotomy
30323
Points
dichotomy 03/05/14 - 12:57 pm
12
1
LOL.....if that happened

LOL.....if that happened somebody would have to call an ambulance for me because I would bust a gut laughing.

galaxygrl
1165
Points
galaxygrl 03/05/14 - 01:18 pm
8
2
Perfect

I thought Marion was perfect.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7042
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 03/05/14 - 01:23 pm
7
6
Deals

What do ya'll wanna bet that that the Sheriff's budget will get a big bump from Marion Williams? I'll offer up a Free Breakfast at the Broad St Canal Coffee, Bar&Grill and Psychiatric Center!!!!

juantez
220
Points
juantez 03/05/14 - 01:31 pm
0
0
Love or Dislike Them
Unpublished

Fred Russell, had no legal authorization nor authority to delete those files.
But let me add this "Even when files have been deleted, they can be recovered months or years later using forensic tools.

truthsetmfree
76
Points
truthsetmfree 03/05/14 - 01:47 pm
13
4
Fred's computer

They can check Fred's computer until all the commissioner's agree on something. They will find nothing because nothing is there. Fred didn't use his county computer for very much. He knew that given the past history of commissioners wanting information from the administrator's computer that it would happen again as soon as he left. Fred was no dummy. Fred's computer hard drive is like Marion's head-----nothing there.

Fiat_Lux
14777
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/05/14 - 01:48 pm
12
3
Vindictive losers

SSDD, for YEARS AND YEARS.

Lord God Almighty, Ruler of all that was and is and is to be, what did Richmond County do to deserve Marion Williams and his destructive, obstructive obtuse hindering of forward progress in this already dysfunctional county government?

Oh, wait. I know the answer to that one. Nevermind.

my.voice
4643
Points
my.voice 03/05/14 - 02:09 pm
3
1
Question -

What is it they are looking for exactly?

nocnoc
38156
Points
nocnoc 03/05/14 - 03:03 pm
8
2
Now it will get interesting.

IF files have been deleted illegally or accessed illegally or shared illegally with anyone, then charges will be brought.

Like I said previously there record retention laws (GA & FED).
The fines can be huffty and if criminal intend is found, the GBI does not care if they are the Mayor, or a Loud Mouth Commissioner, they will be arrested and charged.

The IT dept. had better review its Duck Formation.
Because having trained with and later trained a few GBI IT Security Staff back in the 90's, it going to get very real and interesting quick.

Marinerman1
4188
Points
Marinerman1 03/05/14 - 03:30 pm
6
2
You're Right 'nocnoc'

If the email contained certain types of data, then it would've been on the email archival server. Fred could've deleted what was on his workstation, but it would still be archived. I'm sure that Fred probably changed his habits, after the first "Marion-gate". It would be fitting if they investigate the archival server and get hits on "race track" or "over priced church property". Or maybe even "past due property taxes". : - ))

internationallyunknown
3932
Points
internationallyunknown 03/05/14 - 03:40 pm
3
3
Backfire?!? Uh

Backfire?!? Uh no.......silly people!

internationallyunknown
3932
Points
internationallyunknown 03/05/14 - 03:43 pm
4
5
Right is right. Wrong is wrong.

"All the brothers are going to stick together."

Is that the best you can do?

leebraxjr
262
Points
leebraxjr 03/05/14 - 03:53 pm
8
0
Process is Being followed

The Sheriff did the best thing possible for all parties. By him requesting the GBI to look into the matter, it finally closes a door that has been open to long in the Commission.

As long as Protocol is followed in this matter, it may be the first time "I" have ever seen the doors shut on a very important matter and I hope the process continues. This is how checks and balances are done.

Graymare
2570
Points
Graymare 03/05/14 - 05:18 pm
6
1
Seriously?

Wow! Haven't they got better things to do?

The Mick
827
Points
The Mick 03/05/14 - 05:22 pm
10
4
I know what they want find

I know what they won't find on any files...Receipts for Marion Williams tax payments!

dichotomy
30323
Points
dichotomy 03/05/14 - 05:55 pm
9
2
"I know what they won't find

"I know what they won't find on any files...Receipts for Marion Williams tax payments!"

Yeh, and they won't find any independent appraisals that match what we paid Marion for the church property either.

Truth Matters
6135
Points
Truth Matters 03/05/14 - 06:09 pm
3
1
There was another piece of

There was another piece of real estate on Laney-Walker Blvd that was sold some time ago. It was bought by a state-owned institution. I wonder how much money the owner got for those old wooden buildings. Um, I wonder.

Bizkit
29097
Points
Bizkit 03/05/14 - 07:00 pm
5
2
Look they gotta make a show

Look they gotta make a show of this to finally shut up that nutcase. The GBI will do some interviews and then after a month or so they announce there isn't anything to investigate. So every means will have been explored to satisfy the fruitcake. I would love for Russell to reciprocate and ask for access to Marion's computer-you know what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Let's see if ole Marion is above recrimination-not a smidgeon of impropriety. What's that ole saying-it takes a crook to know one.

itsanotherday1
39982
Points
itsanotherday1 03/05/14 - 07:17 pm
6
2
"I would love for Russell to

"I would love for Russell to reciprocate and ask for access to Marion's computer"

I'm not sure he is bright enough to operate one.

specsta
6073
Points
specsta 03/06/14 - 03:04 am
4
1
Oh, brother...

Augusta has areas of the city that look like it's been shelled with artillery fire. Burned down homes and massive potholes. Houses ready to collapse.

Augusta has teens who need resources to stay out of trouble. An "arena" that should have been demolished and replaced a decade ago. Schools that need funding for better resources.

And the list goes on.

But...

To heck with everything else and let's waste time and money searching Fred's computer. Might find an old video of a kitten roller-skating, who knows...

And the mediocrity that is Augusta continues...

Riverman1
78942
Points
Riverman1 03/06/14 - 06:37 am
2
3
Do Away With Law

Computer record retention laws are silly in this era of a gazillion electronic communicating devices. The law should be done away with.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 03/06/14 - 06:48 am
6
2
GBI should look further
Unpublished

While the GBI is investigating Fred's computer, I suggest investigating the doubling of price on garbage pickup with the service being not as good as it was before our great commissioners help us to lower quality and higher prices. Also, the GBI needs to investigate the water dept. and find out why the users should have to pay an extra month's bill, 13 months in stead of 12 months in a year??? Also, investigate the expense vouchers turned in by the commissioners and why did the sheriff decide to call for an investigation! If the GBI finds no criminal attempt by Fred to cover up anything then the sheriff and Williams should pay out of their pocket for the investigation, not the taxpayers. It is time to stop spending money on silly crap and if you have a brain use it on doing something for the citizens of this county.

southern2
5283
Points
southern2 03/06/14 - 08:24 am
5
2
Maybe they will find an

Maybe they will find something on there that will cause Fred to get fired....no wait, he was already fired!

GnipGnop
11424
Points
GnipGnop 03/06/14 - 09:52 am
4
2
I sure thought a lot better

of Roundtree but if he is dancing for Marion then I am highly disappointed.

dichotomy
30323
Points
dichotomy 03/06/14 - 11:51 am
3
1
Well, in all fairness, Fred

Well, in all fairness, Fred shot himself in the foot when he blurted out on the TV news camera that he deleted files. He should have been like that guy in the rat costume on the TV commercial....."PROVE IT". Not too bright Fred.

I don't think Fred did anything wrong. Everyone deletes emails and files from their computer at work. It's done every day. If the county is following the law then there should be backups on the servers. That is where the permanent record is supposed to be. Now, if someone in the IT department deleted the permanent record, THEY may be in trouble and if someone instructed them to do so, THEY may be in trouble....but as far as Fred deleting emails and files from his PC....it's done every day by government employees everywhere. It is the IT departments responsibility, not the individual's, to keep the archival record in accordance with public law.

sand gnat
388
Points
sand gnat 03/06/14 - 12:12 pm
1
0
truthsetmefree

To: truthsetmefree, no one has said it any better than that.
Marion should heed Hillary's advise, "what difference, at this point, does it make?"

Bizkit
29097
Points
Bizkit 03/06/14 - 12:56 pm
1
1
I think all the commissioners

I think all the commissioners should provide their work computers for public scrutiny and transparency. Lead by example. I mean what do they have to hide. The are "public" servants so we should have the right to examine their computers for the public good-as a watchdog function. If they resist then that will be taken as having something to hide and as an incrimination of guilt. If they are going to pursue this then why not all the way. Otherwise it appears as a discriminatory witch hunt. So racial discrimination could be at the root of this investigation and we need to call the ACLU to investigate Marion. If the other way you can bet it would be an issue.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 03/06/14 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Truth Matters
6135
Points
Truth Matters 03/06/14 - 04:26 pm
2
0
The sheriff seems to have

The sheriff seems to have taken a page out of Gov. Deal's book by punting this little case. If the GBI says "nothing here" the sheriff's hands are clean. And the hands that "feed" his budget won't smack him.

Pops
6644
Points
Pops 03/07/14 - 10:04 pm
0
0
Anyone in politics or government administration

would have to be a blooming idiot to write anything self incriminating in an e-mail or a text message. All shady deals are done verbally.....out of the range of tape recorders and hidden microphones. Some of you on here may be familiar with how city/county business was done years ago....Harold Road...Southside Mafia....Green Meadows back room....no one was taking minutes at those meetings....

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