Sunday, July 19, 2009
FBI seeking records for city, fire
Bank to supply missing VFD records
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
SEVEN POINTS–No one seems to know why federal agents have issued subpoenas for the City of Seven Points’ financial records and those of the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, but there is a lot of speculation.
A July 15 Athens Daily Review article by Art Lawler on the investigation seems to suggest a number of other incidents, occurring in the last two months, may have some bearing on the case.
“It’s unfortunate that just when subpoenas appear, boxes of important (fire department) records go missing,” assistant fire chief and mayor Gerald Taylor told The Monitor.
The fire department received a clean audit in 2008 on financial records covering 2006-07, Taylor said.
“All those records were in banker’s boxes, tied closed, and in the fire chief’s office up until recently,” he said.
Taylor doesn’t seem worried about the FBI investigation, and speculates the agents are most likely responding to a complaint that FEMA funds from 2006 may have been wrongfully transferred from the city to the fire department.
Once a review of the financial records are complete, Taylor is confident the city will be justified in the expenditures of FEMA funds, if that is what the FBI is looking for, he said.
The First National Bank of Kemp, where the fire department keeps its accounts, has been asked to reproduce the banking records in response to the subpoena.
As of Wednesday, the bank was still processing that request, Taylor said.
That same day, city secretary Debbie Mosley delivered the city’s financial records (under subpoena) to the city’s Tyler attorney for review before handing them over to the FBI.
Dobbs received a subpoena by mail the week after the Independence Day holiday. Taylor, as assistant chief, offered to fetch the records from the chief’s office, which had been cleaned out and painted the weekend before by a community service work crew, under Dobbs’ supervision.
At that time, Dobbs moved some records to the equipment storage unit, which also houses Bubba Powell’s office. Powell is responsible for the fire department’s portable equipment. He is the only one with a key.
Dobbs later told police chief Tim Meadows that he removed the air-conditioner to get into the building.
As fire chief, Dobbs said he has authority over any fire department property and buildings, arguing that it wasn’t a break-in.
Further, Dobbs said he didn’t see those boxes in his office the few weeks he has been chief.
In any case, he is not worried about what may come of the investigation, since he wasn’t in charge of those financial transactions.
When Taylor reported to Dobbs that certain boxes were missing, Dobbs called the FBI with that information.
The FBI came out the same afternoon (July 10) and pulled the hard drive from the computer used by the fire department.
The FBI doesn’t seem all that concerned about the missing boxes, Dobbs said, since the bank is providing the requested banking records from its files.
The Department of Justice grand jury investigation reportedly is centered only on information at this point and not on any individuals. No charges have been made, Dobbs reported.
The subpoena gave an Aug. 4 deadline for receiving the records.
Police arrest murder suspect
View Other Pages
Copyright © 2009, MediaOne, L.L.C.