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GBI decides not to investigate Barrow tax commissioner

POSTED: June 15, 2014 12:00 p.m.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will not investigate Barrow County Tax Commissioner Melinda Williams.

The decision to decline pursuing an investigation was made late last week after the GBI met with Sheriff Jud Smith and County Manager Randall Dowling. Williams’ has come under scrutiny for having her husband working as an independent contractor while performing title searches for the company that collects late taxes for the county.

Last month County Commissioners approved a letter asking Smith to examine whether anything illegal has taken place in her office. Smith immediately sent the letter to the GBI because he wanted an independent agency dealing with an elected official.

The GBI wrote Friday that because none of the allegations are considered criminal activity then there will be no investigation unless more information is uncovered.

"We further conferred with the Office of the District Attorney who agreed that no allegations of criminal activity were made," GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jesse Maddox wrote. "Based on the information provided to us, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation cannot provide the resources to investigate this matter at this time."

Some of the concerns stated in the county’s letter were that there is only a verbal contract with the tax collection company and that her husband, Kendall Williams, may have been using a county office to perform tasks.

County leaders had debated if there would be any action they could take against Williams since they don't have the same oversight over her office as they do others.

Plus, they mentioned doubts about whether there is anything illegal since Kendall Williams is not paid through county funds and is not an employee of Delinquent Tax Services.

Kendall Williams was paid through an LLC created in his daughter’s name.

Delinquent Tax Services President Jon Watson told the Barrow County News in April that he suggested that Kendall Williams form the LLC.

"The reason for the LLC is to protect someone," Watson has said." (An LLC) limits the liability to the corporation and not the individual. There is no grand conspiracy. That was my advice to him to protect him."



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1 comment
Nic30: June 18, 2014 11:34 a.m.

It sounds more political than criminal. The BOC does exercise control in terms of the purse strings. If the BOC thinks the Tax Commissioner is inappropriately using money, then reduce her budget. It also reads like the BOC didn't have any articulable suspicion to warrant a criminal investigation, yet they wanted the Sheriff to ask the GBI to investigate? Maybe the request for the investigation is a "shot across the bow" at the Tax Commissioner's Office. I thought the BOC would refrain from engaging in Peyton Place scripts. I guess we can standby for "page two of the story."



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