Ex-governor: Brooks didn't steal money from groups

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MARIETTA, Ga. — Georgia state Rep. Ty­rone Brooks might not be a great bookkeeper, but he’s not a crook and broke no laws, former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes said Thursday at a news conference meant to address the charges in last week’s 30-count federal indictment against the Democrat.

Brooks  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brooks

Barnes opened by talking about Georgia’s segregationist past and highlighted Brooks’ history working alongside leaders of the civil rights movement.

“Tyrone has never stopped working to bring the Amer­ican dream to those who thought it beyond their reach,” Barnes said. “His life is about serving, not about amassing great wealth.”

Brooks, holding his young grandson, stood next to Barnes but didn’t speak.

The indictment alleges Brooks solicited more than $1 million in contributions from the mid-1990s to 2012 to fight illiteracy in underserved communities and other causes, then used the money for personal and family expenses, ranging from home repairs to credit card bills.

The 67-year-old, who was first elected to the General Assembly in 1981, faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. He pleaded not guilty in front of a federal magistrate judge Wednesday.

Brooks never took a salary from the charitable organizations he worked for, but he was paid for expenses and used that money to pay his bills, said Barnes, who is representing Brooks for free.

“Bad bookkeeping, maybe, but not a crime,” Barnes said. “We have all seen politicians who have manipulated the system for their personal benefit, but that is apparently not a crime of substance, while a civil rights protester who is given money to pay expenses when he works full time in the struggle is a crime. I don’t think that is right.”

The government alleges that Brooks took money over 20 years that would amount to about $40,000 or $50,000 a year, Barnes said. If he had been paid that much as a salary, the government surely wouldn’t have a problem with that, Barnes said.

As for the allegations that Brooks filed fraudulent tax returns, Barnes said he wasn’t required to pay taxes on money that was for expenses.

Barnes said he has great respect for U.S. Attorney Sally Yates but wished she had handled the matter differently.

“I think the broad discretion that a U.S. attorney has in deciding whether to prosecute should have been exercised in this case by allowing this dispute to be handled as a civil tax matter rather than a criminal case seeking incarceration of somebody who has given his life fighting for the rights of others.”

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rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 05/24/13 - 07:09 am
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roy barnes is
Unpublished

about as trustworty as brooks.

jmo
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jmo 05/24/13 - 07:42 am
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Sounds to me like.....

Brooks might have "something" on Barnes. lol

Dixieman
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Dixieman 05/24/13 - 10:35 am
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1
Emphasis

Okay, I give the author credit for mentioning high up in the story - once - that Brooks was a Democrat. (Barnes is one too though this was not mentioned). But if he were a Republican there would be a LOT more emphasis on this!

Darby
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Darby 05/24/13 - 11:25 am
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"Brooks, holding his young grandson, stood

next to Barnes..."

The old saying is "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels."

Given what we've seen recently, on both sides, suggests that the second refuge is to hide behind family and "family values".

Darby
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Darby 05/24/13 - 11:26 am
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Hiding behind "King Roy"

can't be all that good for Brooks either.

gargoyle
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gargoyle 05/24/13 - 01:02 pm
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charitable organizations have

charitable organizations have become big business. Legally they can be set up so that lawyers and board members get the dollars while cents go to the cause,ethics need not apply.

KSL
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KSL 05/24/13 - 08:36 pm
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And Barnes knows this how? He

And Barnes knows this how? He has asummed the part of the jury?

Darby
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Darby 05/25/13 - 12:52 am
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"And Barnes knows this how?"

As I told my granddaughter just two days ago, the reason sharks will never eat a lawyer is simple.

Professional courtesy.

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