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I-TEAM: Kemp names panel to begin Sias investigation

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Gov. Brian Kemp issued a new executive order Monday focused on embattled Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias.

Sias could be one step closer to being removed from office.

This executive order names the three people Kemp picked who will sit on a new panel that will consider suspending Sias.

They are Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, Jefferson County Commissioner Johnny Davis and Georgetown-Quitman County Commissioner Carvel Lewis.

In the order, Kemp writes the three are “Appointed as the review commission to determine whether the … indictment…adversely affects the administration of duties by Commissioner Sias such that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected …”

The panel will have 14 days to make a written recommendation to Kemp on whether Sias should be suspended from office. Meanwhile Sias will have his first court appearance next week on Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. on the federal indictments alleging he lied to the FBI and destroyed documents.

Legal experts say to expect Sias to turn himself in before his hearing to U.S. marshals to be arrested on the charges and the hearing will set terms of his bail, of course the I-Team will be there.

How we got here

Sias, 66, of Hephzibah could face a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, along with substantial financial penalties and up to five years of supervised release following completion of any prison term.

On Aug. 8, 2019, the GBI and FBI executed a search warrant at Sias’ home. The search came just days after commission voted in favor to ask for the GBI to investigate allegations of misconduct against Sias.

Sias was accused by a former employee of sexual misconduct, pocketing $10,000 of SPLOST funds, and mistreating children at the Jamestown Community Center -- a center he’s been long criticized for managing while he’s a commissioner

The commissioner has maintained his innocence against those allegations, previously stating they existed to attack his character and “destroy critical resources” used by the community.

As outlined in Count One of USA v. Sias, the indictment alleges that on or about Aug. 5, 2019, Sias “did knowingly alter, destroy, mutilate, conceal, and coverup records, documents and other objects, to wit, digital files belonging to Sandridge Community Association (SCA), which included invoices, spreadsheets, work orders, payments, agendas, minutes, financial reports and other documentation of Jamestown Community Center (Jamestown), Jamestown Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), SCA Board of Directors, SCA Summer Camp, with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation and proper administration of a federal criminal grand jury investigation.”

Subsequently, Count Two alleges that on or about Aug. 9, 2019, Sias “did willfully and knowingly make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, an agency of the United States,” when Sias told an FBI special agent that he had provided all electronic and paper files in his possession related to the investigation.

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