Commissioner says Blitch stepped in on spending - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Commissioner says Blitch stepped in on spending

July 27, 2007

Adel - Clinch County Commissioners say Judge Brooks Blitch dictated county spending.  A former Cook County Commissioner says he interfered with their budget too.

Former Cook Commission Chairman Ken Roundtree says the Chief Magistrate Judge asked the commission last year to appoint her father as a full time magistrate. He had been acting as a magistrate before she was appointed.

He says the commissioners denied the request because they didn't have money in the budget. And that, they say, is when Judge Brooks Blitch stepped in.

A court order was issued that May creating the position.  Roundtree says the $50,000 annual salary it came with had to be paid by the county commission.

Judge Blitch wrote this letter to the commissioners saying the position was necessary to handle the case load and Chairman Roundtree says it was clear that if they didn't follow his order, they'd be in contempt of court.

The job was given to Ronnie Fender, the father of Clinch County magistrate judge Lori Sherling.

A Federal Grand Jury is investigating Judge Blitch and orders and accounts he created throughout the five counties in the circuit.

No criminal charges have been filed and the judge remains on the bench.

The FBI served subpoenas to all Superior Court Clerks in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit requesting certified court documents and orders at the beginning of June.

Judge Blitch's Homerville office was raided later that month. A Federal Grand Jury Trial began July 17th.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=Blitchinvestigation

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