GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s been more than two weeks since Grovetown City Hall was raided by federal investigators.
The F.B.I. and United States Treasury are looking into how City of Grovetown fines are deposited and collected. Grovetown Mayor Gary Jones says investigators are focusing on one individual, City Clerk Vicky Capetillo. The longtime city clerk was put on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
The raid of Grovetown City Hall, that brought to light missing taxpayer money, has residents fired up.
On Monday, dozens of people packed the council chambers to get answers about what is going on in their city government.
“The citizens of Grovetown are owed a level of accountability and security based off this last federal investigation which uncovered some misappropriation and some wrong doings,” said Grovetown resident Allen Transou.
The agenda called for the city council members to vote on a forensic audit, in addition to the one currently being done as part of the federal investigation. Mayor Jones says federal investigators advised him the forensic audit is needed because it would include more than the scope of their investigation. It would look into all of the city’s departments.
Despite the mayor’s recommendations the city council opposed him, meaning no audit will be done for now.
“Councilman Trudeau actually saw some of the evidence that was presented by the federal agents. So he saw first hand how that information related to criminal activity and to be opposed to that… I think it’s a disservice to the community and the citizens,” Grovetown Mayor Gary Jones told WJBF News Channel 6.
The City Attorney, Brendan Fleming, says he estimates the cost of the audit to be about $50,000. Yet, many residents of Grovetown say they don’t care how much it will cost–they just want to see it get done.
“Most of the people sitting here wanted to see the [forensic] audit pass and the council people, the ones elected to represent the people, need to listen to what the people want,” business owner Deena Youngblood said.
“If the forensic audit can uncover further misappropriation and potential embezzlement then let’s do it,” Transou told WJBF News Channel 6.
Despite Monday’s vote, the mayor says he’ll bring the issue back to the city council again. He says the cost of the forensic audit would come out of Grovetown’s reserve and would not cost taxpayers anything.
The city council did approve the appointment of a new acting city clerk to take over during the investigation.