North Fulton County

State employee accused of lying about ‘acquired’ land, projects now on hold

MILTON, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Transportation is investigating allegations of fraud that allowed major road projects to move ahead without the state actually owning the land.

A state employee filed all the paperwork showing GDOT had legally acquired the land along SR 9 to begin widening and improving the road.

But GDOT now says that the employee lied and filed false paperwork. So all the land GDOT thought it owned, it really doesn’t.

The work along SR 9 from Windward Parkway to the Forsyth County line is on hold as the GDOT tries to sort out the mess they say was created by one of their own now-former employees.

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“As soon as we discovered this, we had taken swift action in an investigation working throughout policy and procedures to make sure this cannot happen again,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale said.

Dale said their investigation into right-of-way acquisition specialist Felicia Pennyman started two weeks ago after they got complaints by people living along state route nine.

She said that investigation showed Pennyman committed massive fraud by filing fake paperwork showing she had acquired the land for the state when in fact, she hadn’t.


They say they’re still not sure why she did it but it doesn’t appear she did it for financial gain.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot went by her DeKalb County home on Tuesday hoping to get some answers but no one came to the door.

Milton Mayor Peyton Jamison is upset by the revelation and says he’ll push GDOT to put the road back the way it was.

“Shocked and stunned. That’s all I can say. You know, we have a lot of questions and we’re hoping to get some answers,” Jamison told Elliot.

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Dale said the investigation shows Pennyman also failed to acquire the land at four other projects around metro Atlanta, which also must now stop.

She said these revelations have shocked her agency.

“It takes one person -- we have thousands of employees -- it takes one person to break the trust. It takes all of us to put it back together,” Dale said.

Pennyman is not facing criminal charges for now, but this case is now also being investigated by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General, so there could be more fallout to come.


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