Augusta swears in replacement for indicted Commissioner Sias

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 3:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta Commission members have chosen the person who will replace suspended District 4 Commissioner Sammie Sias.

Alvin Mason was voted in Tuesday as Sias’ temporary replacement. He was sworn in immediately.

Voting yes were Commissioners Dennis Willams, Bobby Williams, Ben Hasan, Sean Frantom, Brandon Garrett, and John Clarke. Voting no was Francine Scott. Abstaining were Jordan Johnson and Catherine Smith McKnight.

As Sias prepares to fight his two federal charges, his colleagues learned last week they’d have the responsibility of appointing his temporary replacement.

Mason is a former two-term District 4 commissioner and he also ran for mayor against Hardie Davis in 2014.

State policy says if a seat is empty for more than 12 months, that calls for a special election. That happened once recently when Commissioner Andrew Jefferson died and Bobby Williams was elected. But it won’t happen in this case because Sias has only been suspended, not removed. If he is found not guilty, he could take his seat back.

What is Sias accused of?

Sias has appeared in court, pleaded not guilty and is out on bond after posting $5,000 bond.

Under conditions of the bond, he has to report for supervised release, avoid contact with witnesses, cannot have a gun, use drugs, or drink to excess, has to turn over his passport, he isn’t allowed to travel outside of the Southern District of Georgia, and has a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

On Aug. 8, 2019, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and FBI executed a search warrant at Sias’ home. The search came just days after the 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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