In July, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on apparent irregularities in the sheriff's campaign accounting, including thousands of dollars in unattributed cash and questionable payments to his senior staff and their relatives.
The campaign also refused to answer questions about how Corn Boilin’ money was divided between Warren and the youth museum. The event attracts hundreds of people, including conservative powerbrokers like Gov. Brian Kemp, who gave a speech this year.
The subpoenas follow a formal complaint issued by the ethics commission alleging Warren has improperly utilized nearly $20,000 in campaign funds since 2015. Many of the expenditures were for groceries, membership dues and petty cash used on undisclosed purchases. Some of the expenditures in the complaint aligned with those highlighted by the AJC’s reporting.
“The sheriff denies the allegations that are in the complaint,” said Douglas Chalmers Jr., Warren’s personal attorney. He called the complaint “a mess” and accused the commission of failing to follow proper investigative procedure, an argument he echoed in legal filings intended to block the subpoenas.
The commission said in a statement it does not comment on pending litigation. A hearing before the commission has been scheduled for December 4 at 10 a.m. A separate hearing in Cobb County Superior Court over Warren’s attempt to quash the subpoena to his campaign’s bank has not been scheduled.
Hyde said he is skeptical of Warren’s argument that the commission lacked the legal justification to issue the subpoenas, and questioned why the sheriff wouldn’t just hand over the documents.
“From the outside, it could look as if there is something to hide,” said Hyde. “That doesn’t give the public much confidence.”
Cobb County Spokesman Ross Cavitt confirmed that the finance department had already complied with the subpoena, and the county attorney’s office was not representing the Sheriff’s Office in this matter.
Cobb County Sheriff’s Office spokesmen Glenn Daniel and Robert Quigley did not respond to questions about whether the Sheriff’s Office had complied, or intended to comply.
Neither the Cobb Youth Museum nor CenterState Bank could be reached for comment.