About 10 people showed up to hear Carolyn Cosby, chairwoman of the TEA Party organization, read a news release alleging Cherokee Recycling owner Jimmy Bobo made an “illegal attempt” to conceal a campaign contribution to Commissioner Karen Bosch before the 2004 primary election.
In her 10-minute presentation, Cosby also singled out Commissioner Harry Johnston as reporting a significant jump in unidentified campaign contributions in 2008.
Cosby said the group planned to turn over evidence to Cherokee County District Attorney Garry Moss and that members are calling for a full grand jury investigation.
Cosby was flanked by Keith “Eddie” Mahurin, former husband of Bosch, who Cosby said came forward recently with evidence of Bobo’s contributions to his former wife in 2004.
The organization presented a sworn affidavit from Mahurin, which it said it planned to give to Moss.
Cosby said that in 2004, Mahurin — who did not speak or take any questions at the news conference — received a call from Bobo, who wanted to make a contribution to his then-wife’s campaign.
Mahurin alleges Bobo at the time asked for 10 envelopes, placed a $100 bill in each and “wrote various names on the outside,” Cosby said. Bobo then gave the envelopes of money to Mahurin. Georgia law allows only campaign donations of $100 or less.
The names listed on the envelopes, according to Cosby, are: Leon Bobo, Loretta Bobo, David and Pam Bobo, Nancy Sams, Waverly Thornton, Charles Bishop, Weymon Anderson, and Tom and Tracy Bainette.
Cosby said Mahurin then allegedly turned the envelopes over to his wife, and some time much later discovered the envelopes in the attic in his home.
Bosch on Tuesday confirmed Bobo approached her in 2004 and said he wanted to contribute to her campaign. She called the allegations by her ex-husband an attempt to discredit her.
Bosch said at the time of her 2004 election she didn’t know who Bobo was, but did say he dropped the money off at a business run at the time by her ex-husband and her — Eddie’s Electronics.
“That’s the end of the story,” she said. “I received nothing else from Jimmy Bobo. I have never taken any contributions from him.”
Bosch said she’s also voted against a request Bobo had before the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals and even lobbied the county commission to deny his request when he appealed.
Bosch, who said she’s been Bobo’s biggest opponent on the commission, added she reluctantly went along with the county’s creation of the Resource Recovery Development Authority in 2006 that approved a bond in an amount not to exceed $18.1 million.
The bonds were used to move Bobo’s company from Blalock Road near Holly Springs to its present site off Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground.
She also said her ex-husband was an “evil, nasty person” who “hates” and wants to “destroy” her.
The organization’s criticism stems from a decision by the commission in February to cover a debt payment after Cherokee Recycling owner Jimmy Bobo failed to make payments owed on the bonds the county had guaranteed.
The county at that time moved $1.8 million out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds into the general fund to cover the payments on the debt.
The money from the general fund was originally used for expenses that were paid by SPLOST funds last year and the move would reimburse those payments back into the general fund, freeing the monies up to cover the bond debt payment.
The county commission addressed the organization’s complaints about the legalities of the decision last week.
Bobo did not return calls or emails by press time.
The tea party group on Tuesday also said Johnston had a significant jump in unidentified campaign contributions in 2008. The law allows individual contributions of $100 or less to be declared without the names of the contributors.
Johnston, who was not up for re-election in 2008, said he carefully follows campaign contributions laws.
The commissioner said he also follows the rules that require multiple contributions from the same or related donors to be combined and separately reported if they all exceed $100.
“I have always diligently followed that rule, including with some donations received from Jimmy Bobo in 2006,” he said.
Johnston said the Bobo family contributed $1,200 in 2006, which came from 12 members of Jimmy Bobo’s immediate and extended family.
“I recall telling him I’d still need to itemize the contributions under the ‘common source’ rule, and I don’t recall him raising any objection to doing so,” he said, adding the contributions add up to 3 percent of campaign funds he raised in 2006.
Cosby said Tuesday she had no problem with legal campaign contributions.
“I want to be perfectly clear, we don’t object to Bobo making legal contributions within the limits of the law to the candidates of his choice,” she said.
The TEA Party Patriots also announced it was introducing a Contract for Cherokee County Families, which the organization will ask interested candidates to sign if they promise to reveal the identity of donors who contribute $100 or less to their campaign.
Those adhering to the pledge will be named TEA Party Favorites.
According to Cosby, candidates who have agreed to sign the pledge include Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, state Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock), and “TEA Party challengers” to the county commission Channing Ruskell of District 2 and Brian Poole of District 3.