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City threatens lawsuit over SPLOST documents
Officials seek records from county board
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City officials last week sent a letter to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners threatening suit over alleged missing documents detailing sales tax expenditures.

"Unfortunately, the detailed information that we previously requested twice was not provided. At this point, the city questions whether the county is trying to obfuscate what should be a very clear paper trail on the receipt and expenditure of public funds," City Attorney Dana Miles said in the July 5 letter.

The city has asked for documents showing the amounts paid for by SPLOST V (special purpose local option sales tax) funds in detail by date and for which project the funds were allocated.

Documents showing all activities regarding the SPLOST V accounts from 2009 to present were also requested.

"What we anticipated receiving and still have not received would be documents that would display receipt of revenue on sales tax collected, interest earned and disbursement of those funds to Winter Construction and other vendors associated with the construction of the courthouse and administrative buildings including contracts, purchase orders and invoices," Miles said. "We have received none of that documentation."

County Attorney Joey Homans said the county will provide all of the requested information.

The matter is nothing more than miscommunication, according to Homans, that can be easily cleared up without going through the court system.

"I don't see a need for litigation. We sent over the information on a flash drive, along with a letter. The letter made it in the mail. The flash drive did not," Homans said. "So we printed out everything and hand-delivered the documents to city hall."

If the city believes the documentation is still incomplete, Homans has suggested that the city's financial representative set up a "meeting with the county manager and chief financial officer to go over all the information, so they can tell us why the information doesn't answer the questions they have."

The letter said the county had until 5 p.m. Monday to produce and deliver the documents to city hall.

"If these documents are not produced ... please be advised that the city council will vote at their regular monthly meeting at 5 p.m. July 11 whether to pursue its legal remedies under the SPLOST V agreement as well as under state law by filing suit against the county for injunctive relief, damages and the attorney's fees and expenses of litigation associated with such action by the city," Miles wrote.

Mayor James Grogan said there has been no discussion concerning a lawsuit.

"We have requested an open records search on SPLOST V and are awaiting their reply to our request," he said.

No vote was taken concerning potential litigation during Monday night's council meeting.