Originally created 05/17/03

Subpoena seeks Walker records



A federal grand jury in Savannah has subpoenaed records at the Medical College of Georgia and University Hospital concerning laundry services and former Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker.

Attached to the subpoena was the business card of an agent from the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

The Augusta Chronicle obtained a copy of the subpoena from MCG through a Georgia Open Records Act request. The subpoena asks for "all documents, including all correspondence, memoranda, electronic messages (e-mail), notes and any other records to, from or pertaining to: Senator Charles Walker, and/or Georgia Personnel Services," Mr. Walker's temporary employment agency. MCG plans to turn over the records, senior legal adviser Andrew Newton said.

The subpoena also asks for copies of contracts, invoices, correspondence and bids involving laundry and linen services for two companies: "Crothal Corp." and Angelica Corp. Crothall Services Group has had a contract with University since 1996 to manage "laundry, housekeeping and plant services," said University spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester. In 2000, Crothall agreed to lease the laundry facility at University for $240,000 a year and University agreed to buy linens from Crothall.

"At one point in time we know that Georgia Personnel provided laundry workers to Crothall, but (we don't) know if they still do or the status of that," Ms. Sylvester said. Mr. Walker had no role in negotiations between University and Crothall as far as University officials know, she said.

The grand jury asked only for records concerning Crothall, and copies have already been provided to investigators, Ms. Sylvester said.

MCG Health Inc., which received a subpoena May 2, released a statement from CEO Don Snell saying that Crothall supplies linens to the hospital and clinics and that Angelica is a former supplier. The hospital operating company is "fully cooperating" with investigators, the statement said.

MCG Health is still gathering information but did not know whether Georgia Personnel is a current supplier because there is no centralized system for supplying temporary workers, said hospital spokeswoman Deborah Humphrey.

"Any department can pick up the phone and call any personnel agency they wish to call," she said.

Mr. Walker said he had no contract with MCG and that Crothall was an independent, private national corporation. He added that there was no correspondence from him to MCG, so there was no point to the subpoena request.

Mr. Walker issued a written statement saying the grand jury "has a right to look into any matter it so chooses."

Crothall did not return a call to its corporate offices in Pennsylvania and Angelica did not respond to a request Friday.

Last year, Mr. Walker paid a $8,500 fine to settle State Ethics Commission charges that he failed to disclose dealings Georgia Personnel had with MCG and Grady Memorial Hospital. Some Grady officials have reportedly been subpoenaed by the federal grand jury.

Reach Sylvia Cooper and Tom Corwin at (706) 724-0851.



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