A Cherokee County grand jury has agreed to look further into the entity that backed bonds for an ill-fated business venture.
The interim grand jury on Monday voted to “investigate and further inquire into the Resource Recovery Development Authority of Cherokee County, its books, sites, and property in order to clarify the details that led up to the County having to assume the re-payment of the bonds that funded Ball Ground Recycling, LLC.”
The measure was done after the grand jury met with county leaders on Monday.
County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens said he and Commissioner Harry Johnston plan to meet next Tuesday morning for another round of discussions with the grand jurors.
Ahrens said he supported the grand jury for its decision.
"They have a responsibility to do what they think is necessary and I totally support that," he said, later adding the investigation "will help (us) in the end result."
The commission in 2006 created the Resource Recovery Development Authority, composed of the five commissioners, and backed up to $18 million in bonds, which were used to relocate the former Cherokee Recycling to land along Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground.
The agreement stipulated Bobo was to make payments of the bond into an escrow account, but the county learned last year Bobo hadn't been making the payments. That forced the county to pick up the tab, which it will still be responsible for if it does not find a new operator for the site.
Ball Ground Recycling in late May filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the company was subsequently forced to remove itself from the property. The county, along with the RRDA, have been in bankruptcy court trying to remove the automatic stay imposed by the bankruptcy filing.
The Cherokee County grand jury in June decided to launch an investigation into the deal and earlier this month issued 13 recommendations for the county in the aftermath of the deal gone sour.
The most notable recommendations include calling for a forensic audit into the financial dealings of Ball Ground Recycling; replacing the members of the Resource Recovery Development Authority with non-elected officials; placing on the ballot any future partnership between the county and private entity which would call for issuing bonds; and for the county to exhaust all avenues to recoup money owed to taxpayers in the failed business.
It also recommended the county look into recovering the cost of removing debris from the Blalock Road site.
The commission last week passed a resolution commending the grand jury for its recommendations. It also committed to starting the process of looking for replacement members on the RRDA.
See the attached copy of the interim grand jury's presentment for the September 2012 term.