Probe of former county attorney to get airing Thursday night
Commissioner Randy Ognio will lead a Fayette County Board of Commissioners’ discussion Thursday night about “issues concerning former County Attorney Scott Bennett.”
Those issues revolve around a lengthy investigation conducted by the county marshal’s department into whether Bennett violated the terms of his contract by representing clients in four different legal cases from 2008-2010, a time frame during which he was forbidden to do according to language in the contract.
During the investigation, the county marshal was unable to find any evidence of criminal activity, though his report noted that the breach of contract issue could be brought up as a civil filing in court if the county so desires.
The marshal’s department also investigated Bennett for removing the hard drive from his county office computer and subsequently having its data wiped off the device, along with a similar action on Bennett’s county-issued laptop.
Because Bennett returned the hard drive and laptop several days later and had permission from then-County Manager Jack Krakeel to conduct the wipes, the marshal’s office initially determined that Bennett could not be held accountable for the wiped electronic data.
However, in early February the marshal’s office changed course and re-opened its investigation after learning that under the county’s organizational chart at the time, Krakeel lacked the authority to allow the data wipe since Bennett was to report directly to the County Commission.
Bennett could not be reached for comment by The Citizen’s press time, but in the past has denied any wrongdoing, adding that any of the removed data was stored in his office as a hard copy.
The investigation began with a letter from frequent Bennett critic and fellow attorney Wayne Kendall. Kendall and Bennett have clashed both in court filings and also in person as Kendall filed an unsuccessful ethics complaint against Bennett.
In his letter, Kendall lays out several cases in Henry County and in federal court, alleging that Bennett represented parties during the time period when Bennett’s employment contract with Fayette County forbid him from doing so.
Also on the agenda: A request to sell .22 acres of land at McCurry Park to make way for the widening of Ga. Highway 54 from Fayetteville to Tara Boulevard will be considered by the commission Thursday night.
The widening project may require the removal of six hardwood trees in the area, though DOT will try and save the trees if possible, according to a memo circulated to the county commissioners in advance of the meeting.