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Cherokee Commission: Actions in Recycling Deal Were 'Appropriate'

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners responded to a Cherokee County grand jury's recommendations and findings on the failed Ball Ground Recycling business.

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners struck back at recommendations and findings issued last month by a Cherokee County grand jury that had harsh words for how the county handled the Ball Ground Recycling deal. 

The board on Tuesday approved a resolution in response to the grand jury's findings which were issued in December. 

The grand jury in its presentments and findings for the September 2012 term recommended several actions for the commissioners to take, including disciplining all county employees responsible for the collapse. 

The findings also state the grand jury found no similar entity undertaken by a development authority; the county did not use a free resource offered by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia; and that the county did not carry the assets related to the project on its general ledger.

In its resolution, the county stipulates that the transaction has been legally upheld as appropriate and that every step of the deal has been documented.

County Attorney Angela Davis also noted the county received confirmation from Mauldin & Jenkins, the company that audits county's finances each year, that the county has reported the project's assets "properly." 

“We got confirmation from people who know more than we do that it was indeed handled appropriately," she said. 

The grand jury also instructed the county not to limit the forensic audit to $75,000; for the county to continue in its civil action to recoup all money lost in the deal; and to discipline county employees responsible for the collapse.

In the resolution, the county commission states it "does not agree that the grand jury has uncovered any facts that would justify the disciplining of any county employees." 

"The grand jury also has not indicated any specific facts, conduct, actions or omissions of any particular county employees that would warrant disciplinary action," the resolution states. 

Tuesday's resolution was the latest in a series of resolutions responding to several presentments issued by the grand jury since it decided to investigate the deal last year.  

The county commission in 2006 created the Resource Recovery Development Authority and backed bonds up to $18 million to relocate Cherokee Recycling, later renamed Ball Ground Recycling, to land on Highway 5 just south of the Ball Ground city limits.

The agreement stipulated BGR Manager Jimmy Bobo was to make payments of the bond into an escrow account, but the county learned last year Bobo hadn't been making the payments.

That forced the county to pick up the tab, which it will still be responsible for if it does not find a new operator for the site. 

Ball Ground Recycling in late May filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the company was subsequently forced to remove itself from the property.

The county, along with the RRDA, have been in bankruptcy court trying to remove the automatic stay imposed by the bankruptcy filing.

See the attached .PDF to read the county's entire resolution responding to the grand jury's findings and recommendations. 

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