The Athens Banner-Herald had an odd, lengthy pseudo-investigative piece back in June about allegations that Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Director Jim Corley had improperly used money from vending machines and scrap-metal sales to throw an employee appreciation party.
It's not uncommon for government officials and agencies to use money from vending machines in their offices for all kinds of purposes. But lawyer David Ellison, who with law partner Regina Quick (both frequent critics of ACC) requested documents related to the account, told the ABH that it “appears to be an unauthorized, off-the-books slush fund that has been operating for years with no oversight or accountability.”
Well, not so much. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation looked into it—as is standing operating procedure whenever a local government official is accused of corruption—and found nothing.
District Attorney Ken Mauldin said in a letter dated Sept. 30 to GBI Director Vernon Keenan:
"This letter is to inform you that I have completed my review of the report of the GBI's investigation in its entirety. Based on that review and after discussion with SAC Mike Ayers and Agent Rebecca Herold, I concur that there is absolutely no basis to conclude any criminal wrong doing occurred in the Athens-Clarke Solid Waste Department in any respect, including but not limited to the disposition of scrap metal and the handling of the ACSW Activity Fund Account. In fact, it is my opinion that Department Director Jim Corley acted at all times in the best interest of his department and with the highest ethical standards."
So much for that big scoop.