“It is the recommendation of this grand jury that law enforcement complete their entire investigation before any future grand jury further reviews this matter,” the September 2013 term grand jury wrote in its presentments released Tuesday.
Detectives with Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office are investigating the county’s deal with Ball Ground Recycling for the county to guarantee debt on $18.1 million in bonds to relocate the now-defunct operation run by Jimmy Bobo, District Attorney Shannon Wallace confirmed this week.
Wallace said she couldn’t elaborate any further on the proceeding of the grand jury or the investigation.
The grand jury also noted in its presentment that it had “received the forensic audit,” on the situation, which was presented to Wallace on Sept. 20 after being completed by a Newnan-based accounting firm for nearly $500,000.
Wallace said she turned over the audit to the grand jury so it could “decide if it wanted to conduct any type of investigation, as the previous grand juries had done.” In April, a grand jury recommended no other grand jury take up the matter until the audit was complete.
Since receiving the audit, Wallace has indicated it cannot be released to the public, because it is part of an active investigation and thus not subject to public record.
This week, she said hasn’t changed and she wasn’t sure when it would.
“The forensic audit is still not public record,” Wallace said. “I will have a better idea of when the audit can be released after the criminal investigation has been concluded.”
She added she also has no “specific time frame as to when the investigation will be completed,” and she also was unable to discuss the specifics of how authorities were looking into the situation.
Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, declined to comment on the investigation Thursday, saying Wallace would need to field any questions.
Kim Williams, special agent in charge at the GBI’s Cleveland office, also said she was able to provide few details on the investigation.
“All I can tell you is we’ve been asked to review to audit and it’s an ongoing investigation,” Williams said.
Williams said the GBI was first asked to look into the Ball Ground Recycling situation by Wallace’s predecessor, Garry Moss, in late 2012.
That was a few months after the news broke that Bobo had filed for bankruptcy and Cherokee County was left holding the bill for $100,000 a month in lease payments on the facility.
Once the forensic audit was returned to Wallace, Williams said the GBI continued its work with the district attorney’s office.