Gwinnett DA wants corruption investigator

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Gwinnett County's top prosecutor wants to hire a full-time investigator dedicated to corruption complaints.

District Attorney Danny Porter has asked the county budget review committee to include funding for the new position in next year's budget.

Porter told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh currently, when he’s forced to pull an investigator into a corruption case, they step aside from their regular case load.
And he said the corruption complaints are stacking up.

"I’ve got at least four other complaints. Now, whether or not they're founded, I don't know,” Porter said.

That’s on top of a pending bribery case against former Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly and impending indictments against former Sheriff's major Nick Neal.

Porter said he has always fielded and investigated tips about elected officials involved in scandal and corruption. But recent high-profile cases have more information coming out of the woodwork.

In 2010, a grand jury indicted Kenerly for allegedly accepting $1 million in bribes for county land deals. The same year, former commission chair Charles Bannister resigned to avoid prosecution for perjury.

Last month, Porter told Kavanaugh he believes Neal was illegally selling personal property to the county. Just last week, former commissioner Shirley Lasseter was sentenced to almost three years in federal prison for accepting a bribe in exchange for a rezoning vote.

"We've been struggling along on a part-time basis and what we've realized is that these cases are larger than they used to be,” Porter said. "You have to have enough evidence to get wire taps and search warrants."

Porter said there is no stronger message that Gwinnett County won't tolerate corruption than handing up indictments.

Porter told Kavanaugh he would have asked for the position last year but didn't because of budget constraints.

The Gwinnett County budget process has just begun. It will be several months before any decisions are made.

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