Will taxpayers pay the price of an ongoing feud? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will taxpayers pay the price of an ongoing feud?

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March 20, 2006

Albany - Dougherty County commissioners are stunned by the latest development in the running feud between the District Attorney's office and Open Arms, Inc.  

Commissioners were notified last week by Open Arms attorney that the D.A. broke the law by accepting money from Open Arms to prosecute child abuse cases.

Open Arms says, as a result, the district attorney's office owes the child abuse agency  250-thousand dollars it paid prosecutors.

In a letter to commissioners, Open Arms cited Georgia law that states it's illegal for a district attorney to accept outside money to prosecute crimes.

County commissioners worry that taxpayers are getting caught in the cross-fire of the battle between District Attorney Ken Hodges and Open Arms Executive Director Beth McKenzie.

 "I guess I'm just very confused as to why some of these things are happening," said County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

"I hope personalities aren't driving this. I hope the right reasons are out there that are making this happen," he said.

Ken Hodges and Beth McKenzie have been feuding since McKenzie blew the whistle on  Hodges for helping Phoebe Putney Hospital prosecute the men behind the Phoebe Factoids.