Bonding company suspended after Victor Hill call

by: Tom Jones Updated:

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JONESBORO, Ga.,None - A company's bonding privileges have been suspended after it raised concerns about writing a bond for former Clayton County sheriff Victor Hill.

Free At Last Bail Bonds in Clayton County has temporarily lost its ability to write bonds.

Sheriff Kem Kimbrough didn't want to say much about the decision to suspend the bonding privileges because he said an investigation is under way. But a letter from the sheriff's office on the front door of Free At Last said it all had to do with a phone call made from the company to the sheriff about Victor Hill.

The sheriff's letter states a Free At Last bail bonds executive called Kimbrough around 2 a.m. after former sheriff Victor Hill was arrested on 37 counts, including racketeering and theft by taking.

The call didn't sit well with the sheriff. Hill's attorney wonders why.

"It's really almost insulting because an elected official is on the job 24 hours a day," attorney Musa Ghanayem said.

The letter, written by an investigator, states the executive told Kimbrough bonding companies in Clayton County would not bond out Hill for fear of retaliation by the sheriff (Kimbrough).

Hill is running for sheriff against Kimbrough. The sheriff certifies bonding companies in the county.

The letter states the executive had never called at that odd hour and had never expressed concerns about bonding anyone out, even high-profile people.

So the investigator deemed the executive's actions "conduct unbecoming" and a violation of the company's probationary status.

The sheriff's office then suspended Free At Last's bonding privileges pending an investigation. A source said the company is now losing thousands of dollars a day.

Hill's attorney said the action by the sheriff is not right.

"This continuous pattern of behavior is all politically motivated. I think it's politically motivated because I think they probably wanted to write a bond," Ghanayem said.

Kimbrough said he didn't care to respond when Channel 2's Tom Jones asked him if the suspended privileges had anything to do with politics.

Ghanayem had said no bonding companies in the county wanted to give Hill a bond for fear of being decertified by the sheriff.

But the bonding company that eventually wrote a bond for Hill disputes that.

"We took the bond as if it were a normal bond. The sheriff would never do anything like that," said Matt Tucker of Jam Bonding in Jonesboro, when asked if there was concern about being decertified for writing a bond for Hill.

When asked if there had been any repercussions for writing the bond Tucker said "No, there has not been any."

The letter from the investigator also says someone at the company violated procedure recently by trying to get money for a bond out of an inmate's account.

The owner of the company, Cathy Joyce, said she is not ready to discuss what happened.

The company's certification could be reinstated or revoked depending on the outcome of the investigation.



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