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DA Faces Lawsuit
Wednesday, 06 April 2011

April 6--  The District Attorney in the Middle Judicial Circuit is being sued by a former chairman of the Toombs County Commission.

James Thompson filed a suit in Toombs County Superior Court seeking to force District Attorney Hayward Altman to account for and pay all proceeds from a gambling raid last year in the county to the Toombs County general fund.

"We needed to have a raid on those machines.  I don't condone the people who had those machines, but the seizures and the money should have gone to Toombs County," Thompson says.

Altman employed two Atlanta lawyers, Michael Lambros and Andy Ekenomow, to help his office with the racketeering charges stemming from the raid of more than 20 establishments in Toombs and Emanuel counties.  He says their firm is working on a 33 percent commission basis which Thompson says violates Georgia law.

"You just read the official code of Georgia and it says it's illegal for him to do that.  All fines, forfeitures and seizures should go to the county," Thompson claims.

The District Attorney says, "I have nothing to hide because it was all done legal."

Altman says he's already distributed over $100,000 to the Emanuel County Sheriff's Office, the East Georgia Drug Task Force, and the Swainsboro Police Department and used some of the money to buy vehicles for his office.

He plans to do the same thing in Toombs County.  "We have been discussing with the various law enforcement agencies that were involved in the actual RICO action as concerning the appropriate split between all of the parties involved and that will be subject to approval by the court," he says.

Thompson informed the court he may add others to the lawsuit once an accounting reveals how much settlement money has been paid to other parties in the case.

He's also asking that a judge from outside the Middle Judicial Circit hear the case due to the daily workling relationship Judges Bobby Reeves and Kathy Palmer have with the District Attorney.

Vidalia attorney Mackey Bryant is reprsenting Thompson.

 
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