The office of Douglas County District Attorney David McDade said that a television news report that raised questions about the use of vehicles and nepotism in his office only tells part of the story.

After a week promoting the story, reporter Dale Russell of WAGA Fox 5 aired a report http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/22268776/i-team-douglas-co-da Thursday night that used information gleaned through open records requests that he said points to questionable use of cars owned by McDade’s office and a questionable pattern of hiring.

“If you are going to be a battleship — and I have been called that by others — then you are going to be a target and people will take shots at you,” McDade said. “That goes with the territory. However, I hope that after serving this community for 30 years that the people in Douglas County have good reason to believe in what we do and have faith enough in me to do what I believe is right and keep fighting for the victims of crime.”

As far as vehicles, McDade said on the surface it may appear that his office does have an inordinate amount of vehicles. McDade’s office has 18 vehicles. Counting McDade, there are 14 lawyers in his office. Seven of those, plus McDade, have cars assigned for their use. Three investigators have vehicles and two senior office staff have also been assigned vehicles. He said there are four others that are “pool vehicles” that are used as needed by staff in uses ranging from errands, transporting witnesses and other daily functions of the offices, according to McDade.

Lawyers often seek out witnesses, visit crime scenes and travel to other jurisdictions for paperwork and to gather information, McDade said. Investigators spend time in the field to help prepare cases for prosecution, according to McDade.

“This office has never used one penny of taxpayer money on vehicles,” he said. “Those vehicles were purchased with forfeited and seized drug funds in accordance with Georgia law. These vehicles are maintained using the same fund. Taxpayers don’t pay for these cars, the criminals do. This office has never been over budget — not once.”

While McDade admitted that many vehicles for staff may seem unusual, he said to consider where Douglas County is situated. In a metro area, trying to lure and keep top-notch attorneys and senior staff on a budget is tough, McDade said. He said that being able to offer the use of a vehicle can be a selling point.

The use of vehicles by office staff seemed to be a point of contention in the report. McDade said when you understand the duties of those employees and how much outside of the office time is required, a vehicle makes sense. McDade said those two senior office employees oversee administrative operations, handle all purchasing, postal chores, coordinate meals when needed and handle logistics.

“The report did point to one incident where the vehicle may not have been used in accordance to policy,” McDade said. “Even though the incident, where a parked staff vehicle was struck by another vehicle occurred at a time when she had asked me and I approved the trip, I appreciate that being brought to my attention. It has been handled, and the proper disciplinary action has been taken.”

McDade said that there was no attempt to cover anything up. In fact, county law enforcement and state troopers responded and it was handled in the open. All supporting documents were shared with Fox 5, McDade said.

“If there are things that we are doing wrong, sincerely, I appreciate them being brought to my attention,” McDade said. “I can assure you that we will make the proper adjustments and swiftly make any modifications deemed necessary.

“Let me make it abundantly clear that I recognize that having a take-home vehicle is a benefit that must not be abused and should be available to exemplary employees. No employee should treat the vehicle as a personal vehicle and have been so instructed.”

As for nepotism allegations, McDade said that as an elected state official, he has the right to “administer my office as I deem appropriate.” A county nepotism policy doesn’t apply to the District Attorney’s Office. The report alleged that he had favored one extended family as far as hiring and internships.

“While I recognize that there is always the potential that a relative of an employee may have the ability to exert undue influence over a related employee, there are a number of checks and balances that exist in an office like ours that minimize the potential for any difficulty,” McDade said.

Specifically, he addressed allegations made about one family being favored where four members of an extended family work in his office and others work in the courthouse in other departments.

“Consistent with my belief that family relationships should not alone be a disqualifier, several members of the Agan family work in my office,” McDade said. “This particular family is a perfect example of why families should not be disqualified. They are fine people who make hard-working, diligent public servants.”

One other point that McDade touched on was a state-sponsored training session at Brasstown. The report questioned why no registration fee was paid, yet lodging and other expenses were incurred by administrative supervisors.

McDade said that they go for specific software training, so registration for the entire conference is not needed. He also pointed out that even the training is paid for through drugs funds, which is an expense allowed for that fund’s use by Georgia law.

“You can look at information on paper and it may look strange,” McDade said. “You see a large amount for rooms under my name and think that is a lot for a hotel stay. But like most businesses, we use one credit card, in my name, to secure those rooms. When you understand that, that in many cases it is for several rooms and expenses, it explains itself.”

McDade said that there is always “room for improvement.”

“If rules need to be reviewed and employees reminded of them — the end result is better service to the to the public,” McDade said.

(19) comments

JamesBell

I would like to see seized assets from drug cases be use for drug treatment and counseling programs. Programs that will actually improve a persons life. Yes... it is not tax dollars but it is funds that would have replaced tax dollars.

Soon the DC Board of Commissioners will vote on property tax increases. Millage increase. I hope they go through the budget and cut the waste, fraud and unnecessary spending. The budget can be cut with no tax increase. What do you think?

Christopher
Christopher

[beam]

Matt
Matt

It is time for somebody to clean up the judicial system in this county, starting with McDade....I hope they don't sweep this under the rug...Anybody with common sense know that this is wrong. It is too many other people looking for jobs and are just as qualified as this family is....Discrimination to all job hunters...

citizenofdouglas
citizenofdouglas

Nepotism is a threat to our judicial system in this county and needs to be dealt with consciously before letting it creep into the system. It is illegal in the workplace is and a hindrance to the well being of Douglas County. We are experiencing hard times and it makes me sick to see where my tax dollars wasted. I am disgusted... This is so wrong! [angry]

Freedom

What was reported so far reminds me of the many small businesses I have worked with over the decades. Most all are run by the man who owns it and they hire family and friends and anyone they wish. They spend their money like it was their own. And it is theirs, so they can do what they like.

Mr. McDade, on the other hand, is not the "owner" of the the District Attorney's office of Douglas County. Yet he is spending the drug money like it was his own. And the way the "drug" money and property is empounded and distibuted currently, without going through the normal county's checks and balances, opens the door to the abuse reported on Fox 5 last night.

I appreciate that everone makes mistakes. It is important, however, to follow up with a more thorough investigation of the way the DA's office is being run. Mr, McDade is known for his thoroughness and for thowing the (law) book at everyone who crosses the line in this county.

Let's use his process and have a forensic investigation of the DA's office. After 30 years in public office and many elections without even any competition and with hiring being kept so close to the vest, there is ample reason to think report is just the tip of the iceberg.

Thank you, Commissioner Robinson, for speaking truth to the powerful. We need to elect public officials based on what they do and not what they say they do. Integrity requires openness and we don't really have very much of that in our county and city law enforcement communities.

Let's wait and see what else Fox 5 uncovered in the days ahead, using publc records. But let's also start the process to create an independent investigation of the DA's office. When will our other County Commissioners do their job and demand and investigation, too? Or are they afraid of the DA, like most people are when too much power is given to one individiual over so many years?

citizenofdouglas
citizenofdouglas

I totally agree with this comment. Well said! I wonder if and when will our other County Commissioners do their job and demand an investigation. I hope that they are not intimidated by the DA and do what is right! It is wrong to rationalize McDade's behavior by the fact that he has done a lot to rid our streets of criminals, (this is his job and what he gets paid for). Who approved of this fraud and waste of the forfeited drug money? This is not the DA’s personal bank account. Thank you Fox 5 for uncovering this fraud and waste. You are awesome. A special thank you to Commissioner Robinson for his genuineness and honesty. I agree that there needs to be an independent investigation of the DA’s office.

Herbie1964

I think Douglasville and Douglas County are both rife with lawlessness. I say this from experience. Good luck trying to have real law apply here.

DC Resident

David McDade is not a stupid man, he wouldn't just spend forfeited drug money without approval, he would be an idiot to do that. He may not have the best checks and balances systems in place, but he wouldn't just spend it on whatever he wanted. If that's the case, then why did anything like this not ever come up before? Oh I know why, because he was using it as he saw fit. Now I don't agree that it needed to be spent on cars for his staff, but I don't think he was trying to hide anything. A man that has served this county for over 30 years would have had questions come up about his actions long ago, had he been trying to hide things. His office is an open book. He had no problem handing over any documents requested. He just pissed someone off in his office or the courthouse and they thought they would get even by trying to make him look bad. Trust me we have enough criminals in Douglas County, that we need to look into before we start crucifying his department. I truly believe that he welcomes anyone to look into the running of his department, he said that on tv, a man that has something to hide isn't going to be an open book, trust me there are many other well known business owners in DC that have a lot to hide. He has done a lot to rid our streets of drug dealers and other criminals, no one had anything to complain about for the last 30 years, if you don't like him in office, then run against him!

TAZ

There is more to this story than the good citizens of Douglas County know.
Yes David McDade is and has been an awesome Prosecutor and Warrior for victims of
crimes. But the way he runs his office and favors The Agan family especially Tammie Agan is unethical and just wrong. Where there is smoke, there is FIRE. And lets not even open the discussion on his Chief Investigator.

douglascitizen

Agreed it is time for a thorough investigation

Perry Williams
Perry Williams

If the voters of Douglas county don't approve of the job DA McDade is doing, or how he manages his department, just vote him out of office. I personally always have held a great deal of respect for the man, and for the Assistant DA's serving under him.

Concerned
Concerned

Perry, McDade went on Fox News and said his assistants were not as smart or hardworking as his, um, office manager. He says that's why they're not paid as much as her. Doesn't sound like he has much respect for the Assistant DAs serving under him.

Just a citizen

I'll bet there were some angry grumblings by those people who put in all those years in law school who found out that she makes more than they do! Not to mention her PERKS! [wink]

Herbie1964

I don't approve of the jobs that MOST of the powers that be in Douglas County are doing. They write their own laws.

To Much Corruption

There is definitely more to this story!!! Hopefully Fox 5 will discover what most everyone in the county already knows about McDade and Tammy Agans relationship....It has been going on for years!!!

This man thinks he is so far above the law and that he is untouchable. Hopefully he is about to be exposed for what he truly is.....a corrupt womanizer. Keep watching this story.....it is all about to come to light.

citizenofdouglas
citizenofdouglas

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/250/1320/615367/


Somebody on Fox 5 shared the above link. Interesting and coincides with the "corrupt womanizer" comment in one of these postings. Wow...

mamawolf52

I think he is no better than the people he puts in prison. Just because someone has served in public office does not mean they are not a crook. They still or do unethical things and it's oh well I'm DA and can do whatever i want to do. Look at the x mayor who only got a hand slap when he as far as I'm concerned stoled money. Same with David McDade. Also not the most public defenders work with the DA and not their client. Knew someone who had a public defender then all of a sudden he worked for the DA officc. McDade needs to resign. He is crooked like most politians.

firehim

Not only should he be fired, but he should be in prison! Shame on him and shame on the county government officials if they don't oust this crook!

Just a citizen

People in Douglas County have known about the McDade / Agan relationship for years. I guess that is between him and his wife. However, when it causes her to be paid more than those attorneys that work for him, or get family perks such as jobs, cars, gas, insurance, etc. then it becomes between him and us. To say that the money did not cost the tax payers anything is a joke. Who pays for all that gas and insurance? That money would be so much better spent on drug programs for schools... or better yet, how about wages for our police officers and sheriffs deputies that they can actually afford to live on! And his arrogance about not needing to answer the nepotism rules that the county has is just plain disgusting!

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