Cosby got her name added to the Nov. 4 ballot last Thursday, and some have already begun questioning her intentions.
Canton resident Jeffrey Wilbur said he sent two complaints against Cosby to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission on Tuesday, claiming she isn’t being fiscally responsible or transparent.
While nobody at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission could confirm whether or not the complaints had been filed Thursday, the Tribune obtained receipts of delivery for both complaints.
“She acts as though the laws don’t apply to her,” Wilbur said Wednesday. “Carolyn’s record speaks for itself.”
Wilbur’s two complaints against Cosby deal with claims that the lack of expenditures on her campaign finance disclosures for money spent on two mailers that had “Paid for by Carolyn Cosby” and “Paid for by Citizens Opposed to Spiraling Taxation” printed on them and were sent out prior to the May 20 election.
The mailers took aim at Commissioner Harry Johnston, a candidate for the District 1 seat, who was defeated by now Commissioner-elect Steve West.
Wilbur said Cosby should have disclosed contributions and expenses on her campaign finance report, or by filing an independent disclosure with the state.
“It’s an in-depth attempt to circumvent the system; to take advantage of the many aspects out there to create transparency. They are just being avoided,” Wilbur said. “It’s not just in Georgia that this has taken place … She was an activist in Maine for many years and it just seems to have been carried down (to Georgia), and here it is, staring us in the face.”
The complaints also questioned whether Cosby should have registered the Citizens Opposed to Spiraling Taxation with the state ethics board as an independent committee or as a political action committee.
Cosby said Thursday she hasn’t done anything wrong, and instead pointed fingers at her opponent in the November election, incumbent commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens.
“These are baseless charges that are designed to provide cover for my opponent and his responsibility in the Bobo corruption,” Cosby read from a prepared response Thursday.
When asked whether the accusations made about her were true or not, Cosby repeated her prepared statement. When asked about whether or not the complaints should be thrown out, Cosby again repeated her prepared statement, adding that was “the real story.”
“We’re not going to focus on peanuts when we’ve got this to talk about,” Cosby said, referring to a forensic audit of the county commission’s dealing with Ball Ground Recycling.
The audit looked into the county’s deal with Ball Ground Recycling to guarantee $18.1 million in bonds to relocate the now-defunct operation run by Jimmy Bobo. Bobo’s business eventually went bankrupt, leaving the county responsible for the payments of about $100,000 per month.
At the time the forensic audit was released in April, District Attorney Shannon Wallace said it showed no illegal activity on the part of the board of commissioners.
In addition to the latest charges, Cosby faces multiple pending ethics complaints in Georgia, said Holly LaBerge, executive director of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.
The other complaints also allege Cosby violated Georgia campaign law by not properly documenting expenditures and registering groups, documents show.
Early in July, BridgeMill resident Garrett Jamieson filed two more ethics complaints against political organizations Cosby participated in. One of his complaints was against Cosby in her role as the Canton T.E.A. Party leader, and the other was against Cosby in her role with the organization Georgians for Healthcare Freedom.
Cosby is also connected to ethics complaints filed in 2012 by former Cherokee Commissioner Karen Bosch. One complaint was against Citizen’s Review and Recommendations Committee and one went after the Canton T.E.A. Party.
The state ethics commission found “probable cause” to send some complaints to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation. Cosby’s name was removed from the CRRC complaint, though the commission planned to consider re-attaching her name at a later date.
Office of the Attorney General spokeswoman Lauren Kane said Thursday the Attorney General’s Office is still looking into the case, but is waiting on another case to be sent back from the ethics commission.
“A companion case is still with the state ethics commission. The commission will need to bind that case over before we can proceed, and they have not done that yet,” she said.
Wilbur said he started to question Cosby’s financials during “casual conversations,” and decided to take action.
“I’m hoping somebody will seriously look into this,” he said. “I just want this to be brought to the attention of the voting public. For them to realize this is not the direction that Cherokee County needs to take.”
Wilbur said Cosby’s “fiscal irresponsibility” was the driving factor of why he decided to make formal complaints.
“Taking into consideration her bankruptcy, the home she had built in Ball Ground, credit card debt,” Wilbur said. “And then, to not be explaining the finances of the groups that she’s involved with, there has to be an answer somewhere.”