County receives nine proposals for audit
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
November 02, 2012 01:02 AM | 2859 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — No decisions were made during a joint meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners and Cherokee County Resource Recovery Development Authority on Thursday, but the county has received proposals for a forensic audit.

A grand jury recommended in August that the county conduct a full and complete forensic audit as part of the process to recover money lost when Jimmy Bobo stopped making payments on the lease of the Ball Ground Recycling Center, owned by the RRDA.

County Manager Jerry Cooper said the county received nine proposals from firms for the forensic audit. District Attorney Garry Moss is reviewing the proposals, Cooper said.

County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens said the proposals received are “quite diverse.”

“There’s quite a wide range of estimated costs,” he said.

Ahrens said he hopes the DA can help narrow the proposals down to a shortlist before the commission votes on which firm to select.

Cooper said he is hopeful that the commission will be able to vote on the matter as soon as the Nov. 20 meeting.

“This audit has several objectives,” Commissioner Harry Johnston said. “One is, to the extent we can, to clear our names. We know we didn’t do anything but get caught in a bad deal. And, if there is anything criminal, (this audit will) try to find it. I don’t anticipate finding anything.”

At the called meeting, commissioners discussed appointments to the RRDA. No vote was taken. The commission voted on Oct. 4 to reconfigure the RRDA and include at least three non-elected officials. It is now composed of the five county commissioners.

The Board of Commissioners will appoint three non-elected officials to begin serving as advisory members in January or when the county has a new lease agreement with a new operator for the Ball Ground Recycling site, whichever comes first.

Several commissioners said they had talked to community members about serving on the RRDA, though no names were given during the meeting.

In November 2006, the county created the RRDA and issued $18.2 million in revenue bonds to relocate Jimmy Bobo’s Ball Ground Recycling from its former location on Blalock Road near Holly Springs to its site on Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground.

Bobo was under a lease agreement with the authority to pay $100,000 a month over 30 years in bond payments up to the amount borrowed to purchase land and equipment for the operation, which the authority owns under the agreement. Last year, commissioners learned from the Bank of New York that Bobo had not been making regular payments into an escrow account.

In May, Ball Ground Recycling filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Bobo was forced to vacate the property.

A grand jury investigating the matter recommended in August that the county seek to recover the funds by conducting a full and complete forensic audit.

In September, a newly impaneled grand jury called for a second investigation of the agreement with Ball Ground Recycling.

Officials are hoping that an independent auditor can find missing financial records and other documents related to Bobo’s business operations to help recoup the debt.

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