Insurance scandal now under federal investigation

ATLANTA — A City of Cumming insurance scandal that Channel 2 Action News first exposed in December is now under federal investigation, according to sources.

Records show that Cumming taxpayers have spent tens of thousands of dollars on free health insurance for two people who are not city employees. One acts as the city attorney on a part-time basis, and the other is the girlfriend of Mayor Ford Gravitt.

Investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer spoke with two sources involved in the scandal, both of whom confirmed that they have been interviewed by a representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The sources said the questions centered on how Gravitt's girlfriend, Angela Mullinax, ended up getting free city insurance.

Mullinax is not a city employee and does not live with the mayor.

The investigation was sparked when the mayor launched an effort to impeach one of his fellow council members over the health insurance scandal.

That council member, Rupert Sexton, is the one who noticed the girlfriend's name on the city list and confronted the mayor about it.

Sexton said Mullinax has been on the list for several years, and her health insurance has cost taxpayers around $75,000.

In an interview last month, Fleischer asked Gravitt why Mullinax is getting free insurance.

"She's on there because she does a lot of work for the City of Cumming," replied Gravitt, adding, "And, ah, I put her on there."

Records show that Cumming City Attorney Dana Miles, who is also not a city employee, is also receiving free insurance.

Miles' office rejected a WSB-TV open records request asking how long he's been on the city insurance policy and how much it has cost Cumming taxpayers over the years. 

Georgia's Municipal Association provides the insurance coverage for Cumming. The policy clearly says you must be a full-time employee to be eligible for health insurance benefits.

It is FBI policy not to confirm or deny the existence of an ongoing investigations, so it is unclear whether it is a formal criminal investigation or merely an inquiry.

Sources said a representative of the FBI has already visited Cumming City Hall to ask questions, but were unsure whether the mayor had been questioned.

In December, the city council voted to move ahead with an impeachment effort against Sexton for exposing the free insurance. The mayor claims that Sexton publicly released private information.

A three-member panel is investigating, but  one of the members of that panel is Miles, the same attorney who is getting free health insurance. Miles told Fleischer that he does not believe that's a conflict of interest.