Barrow County’s retiring sheriff has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into an ongoing dispute with a Snellville supply firm that in 2007, outfitted 36 sheriff’s office vehicles with allegedly overpriced equipment that did not meet county specs.
But an attorney for the parts dealer said this week the sheriff’s move was just “a publicity stunt by an outgoing politician.”
In a Dec. 17 letter to the GBI, retiring Sheriff Joel H. Robinson alleges that after winning a contract with the county in 2007, Parts Enterprises substituted cheaper parts on sheriff’s department vehicles.
Robinson’s letter states that the sheriff’s office notified the company of the alleged discrepancy and was told that fleet maintenance director for Barrow County, Tommy Parten, had approved the parts substitution.
“We spoke with Tommy and he adamantly denied this claim,” Robinson said.
GBI special agent Jim Fullington confirmed receipt of the letter.
“We’ve been requested and are looking into some of the allegations to determine if there is a potential criminal act,” he said.
Matt Reeves, attorney for Parts Enterprises, said Tuesday that the dispute is a civil matter.
“Parts Enterprises stands behind its work, and has a positive track record,” Reeves said. “Parts Enterprises is appalled that the outgoing Sheriff would try to divert the attention of the GBI in this way from keeping criminals off the street, to spending time on a civil matter.”
Barrow County Chief Administrator Keith Lee said Monday that the county staff has acted on the sheriff’s request to resolve the dispute.