Snellville Mayor Tom Witts is under investigation for allegedly failing to pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said Tuesday.
Witts, who was elected in November, said he was at lunch and could not speak when he was reached Tuesday afternoon, but would be available later. The mayor had previously told Channel 2 Action News during election season that the problem of unpaid back taxes was a non-issue.
“This is money that I took from my 401k that I’m paying taxes and penalties on now,” Witts said at the time.
Porter said Witts has a payment plan for unpaid federal taxes, but that he is investigating unpaid state taxes. He also said the investigation has shown that for the past two years, Witts was withholding employees’ taxes at his business — Georgia Property Restoration — but not passing that money on to the state.
Witts is also accused of mixing money in his campaign, personal and business accounts and of accepting payment from the city while in office.
Porter said search warrants at Witts' home and business were executed in late March. The investigation began several years ago, during one of Witts' city council runs, but Porter elected to wait until after the election to execute the search warrants to avoid being accused of meddling in politics, he said. Witts clashed with previous mayor Kelly Kautz, and the two sides volleyed lawsuits back and forth.
Witts can continue to serve while the investigation is ongoing, Porter said. The DA’s office is now looking through the information found on Witts’ computers. Porter expects the matter to come before a grand jury in the coming months to determine if criminal charges should be filed.
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