Commissioner plays race card during ethics code investigation

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

Augusta Commission - Augusta seal with skyline

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners will hear evidence against three of their own accused of breaking the city's ethics code.

Now we learn the contractors could be barred from doing business with the city. Those commissioners could also be forced to repay any money earned.

The city's ethics code is written in black and white.

"Let's face the elephant in the room. It's going after three white commissioners," said Commissioner Joe Jackson.

"Something such as that is idiotic as does not warrant a response," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

Commissioner Jackson says this is a black and white issue. Three white commissioners are being accused of breaking the city's ethics code.

"It appears that way, someone is driving this," Jackson said.

"If you're black and you're wrong, you are wrong. If you're white and you're wrong, you are wrong," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

"I don't think it's racially motivated. I'd love to think we were beyond that," said Commissioner Grady Smith.

Commissioners Wayne Guilfoyle, Jackson and Smith admitted to doing thousands of dollars worth of work on city contracts, which is against the city's ethics code.

"If someone is wrong, they will be dealt with regardless of what color they are," Mason said.

If those accused are found guilty, they could be censured, reprimanded and forced to pay back any money.

"Do you plan to give the money back?" asked News 12's Ryan Houston.

"No, it's already been spent. That's been since 2008," Jackson said.

"If they want me to bring the money back, then I'm going to get my parts," Smith said.

"I'm sure there's other people on this commission that have done work with the city. I guess they covered their tracks better," Jackson said.

"It was never done on race or color. I didn't know there were three white commissioners or anybody that were doing any business," Mason said.

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