The Columbia County Commission met to discuss the investigation into Tax Commissioner Kay Allen. Allen is under investigation for allegedly mishandling property tax money from the cities of Grovetown and Harlem.
Monday morning, commissioners voted to send a letter to Governor Nathan Deal to inform him about the alleged misconduct. Commissioners say it is their duty to report misconduct to the governor, and now, by sending the letter, Allen's future as the tax commissioner is in the governor's hands.
The commission met in executive session to draft the letter to Deal. In the letter, commissioners say they have discovered that Allen has personally collected more than $160,000 from the cities of Grovetown and Harlem since 2009. The letter also states she collected the fees by preparing hand written invoices that she personally delivered.
"It's terrible. It's just not something you want to see. It happens from time to time. It maybe a first for Columbia County, but again, we don't know the entire story," Commission Chairman Ron Cross said.
Commissioner Charles Allen, who is Kay Allen's husband, recused himself from the vote on the letter. We asked Cross if the commission knew about Kay Allen's arrangement with Grovetown and Harlem.
"Indirectly, because we have been following the situation in Fulton County with the tax commissioner there," Cross said.
He says the situation has been uncomfortable for everyone on the board, but says the investigation says a lot about public officials.
"We don't have the best reputation in the world, I think we work hard in Columbia County to try to offset that. We certainly don't get the publicity of the federal government and some other counties, but never the less the suspicions are always there," he said.
Cross says the governor will have 10 days to review the investigation, but for now, the commission will move forward with a full audit of the tax commissioner's office.
"As I said in my statement, it's kind of hard to audit records where none exist," Cross said.
We spoke with Kay Allen's Attorney Douglas Chalmers Monday afternoon. Chalmers said the tax commissioner was at work on Monday, and that she will , "continue to serve the citizens of Columbia County as she has done faithfully for years."
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