An interim presentment on Tuesday was handed up in Cherokee County Superior Court, announcing the plan to continue the investigation to review the deal.
The January 2013 Cherokee County grand jury will also investigate the Cherokee Office of Economic Development’s purchase of 53 acres along Highway 92 owned by Jimmy Bobo, owner of Ball Ground Recycling.
The September 2012 grand jury recommended that the grand jury now in session undertake these investigations. That grand jury found that COED had purchased the Highway 92 land from Bobo for $5.27 million in 2009.
The January grand jury appointed a committee of members made up of David Ledford, Vernon Lingerfelt, Karen Postell, Maureen Rowson and Melinda Anice Ward as a part of the presentment.
“This is a continuation of the investigation into the RRDA. This grand jury is following the advice of the previous grand jury to continue looking into the actions of the RRDA and everything that led up to the county taking over payments of the $18 million plus bond,’ Cherokee District Attorney Shannon Wallace said. “There was only so much that could be done by the previous grand jury due to time constraints, the term is only four months.”
County commissioners have previously said COED’s land purchase is “only remotely and indirectly” related to the Ball Ground Recycling dealings and is not part of the Resource Recovery Development Authority’s transaction.
In a written response to the September grand jury’s findings and recommendations, county commissioners stated that continued investigation is under the discretion of the district attorney, but continued investigation before the completion of the forensic audit “would seem to be unproductive and/or duplicative.”
The county created the RRDA in 2006 to guarantee the debt on $18.3 million in bonds used to relocate Bobo’s recycling business from county property on Blalock Road to Highway 5 near Ball Ground, where Bobo was to lease the property from the county.
Bobo stopped making lease payments on the property in 2011.
He filed for bankruptcy and vacated the property in 2012, leaving the county on the hook for making lease payments until a new operator and tenant is found.