Full commission to hear accusations of ethics code violations

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News 12 First at Five / Monday, Feb. 25, 2013

Augusta Commission - Augusta seal with skyline

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners met Monday night to question some of their own practices.

Commissioners Wayne Guilfoyle, Grady Smith and Joe Jackson are under the microscope for their work on city contracts.

"We are not running from this as a governmental agency as a body. We will take the appropriate action," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.

Documents show city money was paid to Guilfoyle, Smith and Jackson's companies. The city's ethics code reads that no city employee or public official should transact in any business or participate directly or indirectly in a procurement of a contract.

"If I thought it was something unethical, I sure would have brought it up to the attorney. We have the procurement and legal see me abstain from everything," Guilfoyle said.

"As a subcontractor, we're so far down the food chain, architects, engineers, project managers, and then it's dispersed to different subs," Grady Smith said.

These purchase order summaries reveal that Jackson's Kirby Locksmith has done work at the Sheriff's Office and the Parks and Recreation building. Documents show his company was paid just under $2,000.

"It did not go through procurement. it was just as services were needed," Jackson said.

A paper trail shows Grady Smith's company, Smith Brothers Mechanical Contractors, has done work at the Diamond Lakes Center, the Sheriff's Office, the Richmond County Jail and Richmond County's 911 Center. More than $18,000 was paid to his company.

"Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. But I righted it when I found out," he said.

We also found documents that show Augusta Tile Crafters received more than $70,000 in payments for work at the Augusta Regional Airport.

"The amount of money we make on these things is not that much. You can dictate and swing it any way you want. If you want to do some fuzzy math right here, we can do it," Guilfoyle said.

Commissioners can censure or reprimand any commissioners involved. They can also be required to pay back any money earned under the ethical violation.

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