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GBI investigating counseling service that contracts with Hall, Forsyth courts

POSTED: September 27, 2013 12:26 a.m.

Forsyth County has canceled its contract with New Hope Counseling after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday searched the center’s Cumming office.

New Hope, which provides counseling services for the DUI and drug accountability courts, also has a Gainesville office that was searched, but Hall County Court Administrator Reggie Forrester said no decision had been made about the court’s relationship with New Hope, though he said he was aware of an issue with the Enotah Judicial Circuit.

Hall is in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which also includes Dawson County, and Forsyth is in the Bell-Forsyth Circuit.

According to a report from GBI, the agency launched its investigation into the counseling center at the request of Enotah Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Raymond George, who stated New Hope bought equipment and supplies not provided to the accountability courts.

“George recognized the accountability courts in Lumpkin and Union counties were operating with minimal supplies and equipment and found information which caused him concern,” the report stated.

The Enotah circuit also includes Towns and White counties.

Citing the ongoing investigation, GBI officials reached Thursday declined to provide additional details.

As part of the probe, the GBI searched New Hope’s offices at 330 Dahlonega St. in Cumming and on Tuesday searched the Gainesville office, listed on New Hope’s website at 322 and 316 Spring St. According to that website, New Hope also has a Dawsonville office.

Forsyth County last renewed its agreement with New Hope in March to provide counseling services and drug and alcohol testing.

That contract was “terminated with cause” on Wednesday, said Donna Kukarola, Forsyth’s procurement director.

Forsyth soon will seek proposals for a new firm to run the program, which is at no cost to the county, Kukarola said. Participants pay for the services.

Times staff contributed to this report.


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