City IT office didn't give Williams Russell's hard drive

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Midday, May 9, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The controversy continues today over city administrator Fred Russell's hard drive. One commissioner claims to have a copy of it, and now there are questions about how he got it.

The city's information technology director tells News 12 no one in her office released any information to Marion Williams. So there's still a big question: how did he get a copy of Fred Russell's hard drive?

News 12 was the first to tell yesterday at Midday about Williams' claim. He told us he is waiting on a legal opinion before he looks at what's on it. Williams wants to find out if the administrator is doing personal business on the city computer.

News 12 spoke with Williams again this morning. He's still not telling us where he got the copy, only saying he got it from a "professional" source. The city's IT director says that if it did not come from her office, it was not an appropriate source.

Here's what Williams had to say when reporters grilled him about his claim yesterday: "I got it from a professional. I had to go outside to do some things." When asked if someone from IT gave him the hard drive, Williams said, "You not going to get me to say what you want me to say."

Fred Russell and some commissioners tell me Williams and the so-called professional source who may have given him the hard drive may be violating privacy laws.

They say this also brings up a concern of how secure the city's computer system is.

We'll hear from Williams and Russell tonight on News 12 First at Five and 6, and the mayor says he expects to get a legal opinion on all of this today or tomorrow.

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