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Cherokee Hires Firm To Probe Recycling Deal

McClendon & Associates will get started on the audit of the failed Ball Ground Recycling deal immediately.

A Newnan-based firm will soon launch its investigation into the failed Ball Ground Recycling venture.

The Cherokee County Commission voted to engage McClendon & Associates to perform a forensic audit related to the project in an amount not to exceed $75,000.

Cherokee County Manager Jerry Cooper said the firm's time frame will include the present day and stretch back to 2005. 

If more money is needed to perform the work, county staff will come back to the commission for approval. 

McClendon & Associates was one of four firms recommend by a Cherokee County grand jury to perform the audit, Cooper added. The firm is one of two recommended by District Attorney Garry Moss and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The county manager noted the other firm declined to submit a proposal since one of its partners did work with one of Jimmy Bobo's companies in the past.

"We look forward to getting this underway," Cooper told the commissioners during the board's work session.

As part of the audit, the firm will review county commissioners and county management and will seek and take direction from District Attorney Garry Moss.

County Commissioners were adamant about the findings being made public as soon as possible.

Commissioner Harry Johnston noted that if the county unearths "useful" information pertaining to its lawsuit against Ball Ground Recycling Manager Jimmy Bobo, his brother David and their companies, they may withhold that information until it's determined not to be critical to their case against the Bobos. 

The auidit will examine the Resource Recovery Development Authority's decision to back bonds up to $18 million to relocate Cherokee Recycling, later renamed Ball Ground Recycling, to land on Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground. 

The forensic audit was one of 13 recommendations issued by the grand jury for the county to undertake in an effort to recoup money lost in the deal. 

The commission in 2006 created the Resource Recovery Development Authority, composed of the five commissioners, and backed the bonds to relocate the facility.

The agreement stipulated 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.

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