JONESBORO The Georgia Bureau of Investigation searched the Clayton County’s finance office and archives Thursday morning in an apparent continuation of an ongoing investigation of county police Chief Greg Porter.
Clayton County District Attorney and GBI spokesman John Bankhead declined to identify the person who was the subject of the search warrant. A June 29 letter from Lawson to GBI Director Vernon Keenan — obtained by Clayton News Daily, however — shows the district attorney asked the agency to investigate allegations of grant fund thefts by Porter and his brother, Robert, however.
Bankhead confirmed the documents search was tied to a request, by Lawson, for a GBI investigation.
“It was an execution of a search warrant to obtain records related to an ongoing investigation, requested by the DA, into the alleged misappropriations of grant money,” said Bankhead.
This was the second time this year the two offices have been searched. In April, investigators from District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson’s office seized documents from the finance office and county archives as part of a separate, ongoing investigation into corruption in the county.
Investigators from Lawson’s office were present Thursday, when GBI agents seized finance records. “The only reason we had people there is because the county falls under our jurisdiction,” said Lawson.
Investigators likely were seeking archived copies of documents they retrieved from the finance office to make sure they match up. That was the case when the district attorney’s investigators seized finance records from both offices.
Lawson’s letter to Keenan shows state court officials have accused the police chief and his brother of taking thousands of dollars in grant money. Two companies the Porter brothers ran were hired in 2009 to conduct home surveillance on Clayton County State Court DUI probationers, Court Administrator Matt Sorensen previously told Clayton News Daily.
Sorensen also previously told the newspaper he and State Court Judge Linda S. Cowen found a “discrepancy” in payments to Porter three years ago.
“Clayton County State Court Judge Linda Cowen and Court Administrator Matt Sorensen have brought to my attention allegations of theft of approximately $36,000 of grant money by Clayton County Police Department Chief Greg Porter and his brother Robert Porter,” Lawson’s letter to Keenan states.
Lawson told Keenan in the letter that her office could not handle the investigation because of obligations to other cases in its ongoing corruption investigation.
Chief Porter has hired an attorney, who has previously told Clayton News Daily the issue could have been “a question of poor accounting.”
— Staff Writer Kathy Jefcoats contributed to this article