JONESBORO — Clayton County police Chief Gregory Porter has hired an attorney in response to a state-led investigation into alleged misappropriation of grant money.
Porter referred questions about the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigation Monday to his Atlanta attorney, Manny Arora. Arora said he is sure a review of grant and payroll documents will clear up any misunderstanding.
“I will try to make sense of the invoices and stuff to see what the confusion is,” said Arora. “It may be a question of poor accounting but I think the documents will speak for themselves.”
Arora said he was hired Sunday and is trying to get up to speed on the allegations.
Porter and his brother, Clayton sheriff’s Deputy Robert Porter, operate two consulting firms, Eagle Eye and Busy Body, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. The companies were hired about 2009 to provide off-duty law enforcement officers for home surveillance on Clayton State Court DUI probationers, said Clayton Court Administrator Matt Sorensen.
Former Clayton police Chief Jeff Turner said Gregory Porter had permission to work part-time jobs when he was serving as deputy chief. Porter became chief in September 2010.
In June, Sorensen and State Court Judge Linda S. Cowen discovered a discrepancy in the way Porter was paid in 2009 but Sorensen declined to be more specific, citing the ongoing investigation.
“We turned over what we found to the Clayton District Attorney’s Office and we are fully cooperating with the investigation,” he said. “I don’t want to comment on what raised our suspicions.”
Sorensen said the court received a grant and advertised for off-duty law enforcement officers to work part-time as needed to check on the probationers. Part of the requirements of participating in DUI court include abiding by curfews and being subjected to random search and seizures.
“It was a weekly thing,” he said. “They submitted invoices to us and we paid them through the grant.”
Clayton District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson contacted Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan for assistance into the review of an allegation of the theft of $36,000 of grant money by the Porter brothers, citing a full caseload.
In her June 29 letter to Keenan, Lawson states, “Due to other large ongoing public corruption investigations, we do not have time to investigate this case and need your assistance. We have most, if not all, of the pertinent documents.”
Arora disputes the amount of money Porter would have made in two years of working under the grant.
“It is my understanding the grants were $17,000 a year at the most,” he said. “For two years, he did this, I don’t know that he would have made that much money.”
Arora said Porter thought at one time he’d been given too much money and that may be where the confusion is.
“He wrote a check on money that he thought he’d been overpaid,” he said.
Lawson said Monday she disqualified her office from the investigation.