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0 April 17, 2018

Carrollton Mayor Awaiting DA’s Call on GBI Investigation – The WOLF News

By Bode Brooks, The WOLF News Director

Carrollton Mayor Walt Hollingsworth is awaiting the results of a GBI investigation into his family-owned concrete business, Hollingsworth Concrete, and services that business performed for the City of Carrollton. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation began looking into Hollingsworth Concrete in September 2016 after multiple complaints were received by then-District Attorney Peter Skandalakis alleging abuse of power against the mayor. Hollingsworth is accused of directing work for the city to his family business and profiting above the threshold Georgia code sets for outside work a city official can perform for their own government which would violate O.C.G.A. 16-10-6. The law limits city officials to profit no more than $800.00 per quarter from work or services performed for the city that official also governs.

The WOLF News met with Hollingsworth’s attorney, L. David Wolfe, who explained that invoices from services performed on the Carrollton Greenbelt and Carrollton Splash Park are two cases the GBI specifically investigated.

“It was determined there were 40 contracts that had been granted while Mayor Hollingsworth was in office in 2016 and 2017. They were all investigated — none of them – no contracts went to Hollingsworth Concrete. There were two files [the GBI] located where Hollingsworth Concrete did provide either concrete or services to the city.”

Wolfe argues those services were “simply repairs.” Large-scale city construction projects typically receive bids prepared by companies wishing to undertake a contract and the city council votes on which company to grant the contract to. However, Wolfe says the process to hire companies to perform repairs works differently.

“If a bid for a concrete company was needed [companies] would have to submit bids to the city in an attempt to get the contract. Now that’s different than the Parks and Recreation Department finding out that the footings on one of the bridges at a Carrollton park had come loose, and there was a danger and the bridge couldn’t be used until it was repaired. And if maintenance was to be done, that was different — the city can just say ‘ABC concrete company can you come over and fix this?”

Despite Wolfe’s claims Hollingsworth had no direct involvement in his capacity as mayor influencing which repair contracts Hollingsworth Concrete received, Wolfe also argues that money received by Hollingsworth Concrete for services performed did not directly go to Hollingsworth. Wolfe says a majority of payments covered the labor and the actual cost of the concrete for each project.

“They had to do with the repairs and yes they did exceed 800 dollars but A. it didn’t go to [Mayor Hollingsworth] B. it doesn’t deduct out for the actual costs of the work but C. I don’t think it is covered by the prohibition because it is nothing he directed to himself, it’s something that Hollingsworth Concrete agreed to do when the City inquired of them.”

The GBI has completed its investigation which is now pending review by the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. Based on the District Attorney’s decision, the investigation will be dropped or charges may be filed in pursuit of a trial.

Bode Brooks is an international award winning investigative reporter. You can hear more from him on The Power Hour this Tuesday nights at 8pm.

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