An alleged conflict of interest between former Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby, and a company the authority hired could have led to the misuse of more than $78,000 of taxpayers' money.
That is according to a Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority that shows Armstead Management, LLC sent the authority two invoices for the same job and both were paid.
This audit by Clifton, Lipford, Hardison and Parker, LLC, a Macon accounting firm, shows two unusual findings from when Clifford Whitby was the chairman of industrial authority during the 2017 fiscal year.
Whitby is the same man who was indicted earlier this year for allegedly bribing former Bibb County School Superintendent Romain Dallemand.
According to federal court records, Whitby bribed Dallemand with $100,000 to support a project he was involved in. Whitby plead innocent but according to the Department of Justice, Whitby faces several charges including conspiracy to pay a bribe to an employee of an agency that receives federal funds.
Wednesday, the firm presented the authority with their findings from the audit.
Their first finding is an invoice that was submitted twice over a three-week period for $76,850. The authority paid the invoice both times to Armstead Management.
Their second finding is a conflict of interest between Whitby and Armstead Management and another company the authority worked with called New Age Concepts and Consulting, LLC.
The audit says an officer of Armstead Management is his brother-in-law and an officer of New Age is his daughter. The audit says Whitby never acknowledged these relationships to the board.
Based off of the findings in this audit, the authority under Whitby's leadership paid a company his brother-in-law works for an invoice of $76,850 twice.
Mayor Robert Reichert is a member of the authority's board. He says they are trying to get the money back and determine if taxpayers' money was misused.
“At this point, no, but we are going back and all of these transactions are under further review. Trying to do our due diligence, but at this point, no,” says Reichert.
Reichert says it could have all been an honest mistake.
The industrial authority would not comment other than to say they have to review the audit. Any potential litigation would be handled after the review process.
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