JONESBORO — Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens recently appointed the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, headed up by Charles A. Spahos, to prosecute the case involving Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that the police chief misappropriated grant money.
Citing her full caseload, Clayton District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson contacted GBI Director Vernon Keenan for assistance to review the alleged theft of $36,000 of grant money.
Spahos became the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia in June. He is the former Henry County Solicitor General and has served as a member of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council for five years.
“I received the appointment from the attorney general naming the council as special prosecutors for the case,” said Spahos. “At this point, we are assisting the GBI with the investigation, to determine whether or not there are any criminal charges to pursue. At the conclusion of the investigationm, we will decide whether or not to move forward.”
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 in a previous interview. “I don’t want to comment on what raised our suspicions.”
Chief Porter’s attorney, Manny Arora, said his client is looking forward to the investigation finding him innocent of the allegations.
“Apparently, there was a suspicion that some of the state grant funds for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) court were improperly obtained by Chief Porter,” said Arora. “The GBI requested financial records of the DUI Court program. Our position is, great, look at everything, wrap up the investigation and let Chief Porter move on. The paper work will speak for itself and it will show what monies were billed and what monies were paid. Let them work through the financial records and wrap up the investigation as soon as they can.”
Arora said his client is agitated by the misappropriation of funds allegations.
“Of course, any rational person would be upset and Chief Porter is upset,” said the defense attorney. “We are aware that the investigative process takes time and once it is over we expect it to be in our favor. In the event that there is some evidence of wrongdoing, which I don’t anticipate, the least of any rational person’s worries would be their professional career.”
Staff writer Kathy Jefcoats contributed to this report.