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GBI, district attorney discuss possible commission probe
Darragh will review evidence before deciding to investigate
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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation met Wednesday with the Hall County District Attorney’s Office to discuss a possible investigation into the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

The district attorney will review the information to determine if there is cause for a criminal investigation, said Mike Ayers, GBI special agent in charge.

Ayers said working with District Attorney Lee Darragh is part of the process before an investigation.

“It’s very much standard for us,” Ayers said. “There have been some allegations that have been made and, as a result of that, our natural recourse in that situation is to consult with the chief prosecutor in that circuit, which is the DA,” Ayers said.

A group of county residents came to the GBI with complaints of impropriety with the Hall County Board of Commissioners, in particular Chairman Tom Oliver’s payments to consultant Carlyle Cox.

“They will make a determination of whether or not they feel an investigation is warranted or whether or not they believe any information rises to the level of looking at this in terms of criminal misconduct,” Ayers said.

On March 11, the commissioners voted to ask Darragh to conduct an investigation into the matter. The board also voted for a financial audit of all the commissioners, County Administrator Charley Nix and former Administrator Jim Shuler.

Oliver announced earlier this month that the county had been paying Cox, a library board member and former Gainesville city manager, since 2006 for consulting services on water and sewer projects. Oliver signed off on the payments without commission approval.

An open records request by The Times showed Cox had received $75,000 since February 2006.

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