Gwinnett, the county in which I reside was at one time the blazing star of Georgia. It’s still a pretty great place to live and has a World Class School System, but it’s had some nasty headlines lately.
First Charlie Bannister, our County Commission Chairman was arrested for a DUI after leaving a “Wings” restaurant. He was given field sobriety tests, which he failed, and at his insistance taken to the local hospital for blood tests which came back with a “0.00” blood alcohol level.
Charlie might surf, but he don’t drink and drive.
This little incident came out of a “family feud” between the Commission Chair and the County Sherriff.
The field sobriety tests were in violation of a Georgia law that prohibits anyone Charlie’s age from being “field tested”.
About a month later, Charlie, whom I mentioned might surf, resigned rather abruptly after testifying before a special grand jury. He cited the old standby of “health and family reasons”.
Well, yesterday, one of our local County Comissioners, Kevin Kenerly, was indicted on bribery charges by a special grand jury.
Charlie and Kevin are buds, political allies, homies if you will.
Could something be a brewing?
Keeping in mind that whole “innocent til proven guilty” crap thing, we must say that Mr. Kenerly hasn’t been convicted yet.
But the presses are still running.
Alledgely, Kevin took a million dollars in bribes from a land developer who was selling land to the county. He decided not to run for re-election this year after ‘serving’ the county for 16 years. If convicted by a real jury, and not just the press, he could face UP to 10 years in prison.
He said today that he will “plead not guilty”.
Who’s gonna’ jump UP and say, “Hell yeah! I did it, lock me UP!”?
I know I wouldn’t.
His official statement:
“We’re confident that when a jury hears all the facts, we’ll be cleared. We’re upset as a family. It’s a sad day. I feel sorry for my wife and my kids and for that matter that the county has to endure and go through something like this.”
Who is “we”? Only Kevin was indicted.
Enter Danny Porter. Now, Danny is our County Prosecutor and a bit of a greedy media whore hog. Seriously, he loves to be in the paper. Or at least it seems that way, since he’s in it all the time.
But Danny said, “…the felony count of bribery is based on an allegation that Kenerly took 20 payments of $50,000 from developer D.G. Jenkins for facilitating a favorable deal on land purchased for an expansion to Rabbit Hill Park.”
Jenkins purchased the land for $8 million but sold it to the county in 2007 for more than $16 million.”
You know, I did notice we’ve got a lot more parks than we had 12 years ago when I moved here. And I just thought it was because they cared!
Porter added of Kenerly, who’s been the subject of investigations in the past, yet still gets re-elected year after year, “It’s not a matter of finally getting him. It’s a matter of following the evidence.”
Which is pretty much what Danny always says.
Mr. Porter did not comment on whether other indictments will be issued.
But he did say the report will become public November 2nd. Wait a minute, isn’t that election day?
The ‘special’ grand jury has been meeting since February, and hopes to wrap things UP by Friday.
I’m sure they’re tired. And probably sick of the whole mess.
And I’m sure there’s more.
Every day on my way to work I pass Kenerly Street. You know, it’s the one right before the Wal-Mart Super Center built on the 68 acres of land where Kenerly Hardware and other stores used to stand.
Quite honestly, I think that’s a crime!
And to think, we were embarrassed by Lester Maddox!