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ATTORNEY GENERAL OBTAINS INDICTMENTS IN FRANKLIN COUNTY AGAINST TAX COMMISSIONER AND OWNER OF CAR DEALERSHIP

PRESS ADVISORY

ATTORNEY GENERAL OBTAINS INDICTMENTS IN FRANKLIN COUNTY AGAINST TAX COMMISSIONER AND OWNER OF CAR DEALERSHIP

September 22, 1998

Atlanta - Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker announced today that a grand jury in Franklin County this morning indicted Richard Holland, the county tax commissioner, on one count of bribery and 16 counts of violation of oath of office, and Robert "Bob" Watkins, owner of Watkins Chevrolet-Oldsmobile, Inc., on one count of bribery.

The indictments alleged that from 1980 through 1995 Holland failed to collect ad valorem taxes from Watkins Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in violation of his oath as tax commissioner to "faithfully discharge the duties" of his office. The indictments further alleged that on numerous occasions over several years Holland accepted products and services from Watkins in exchange for not collecting ad valorem taxes.

"I take very seriously allegations of public officials using their office for private gain," Baker said. "When we receive credible information that an official has been accepting bribes, we will investigate promptly and seek an indictment if warranted."

An arraignment date has not yet been set. The case was presented to the grand jury by Assistant Attorney General Stacey K. Hydrick and Counsel to the Attorney General Michael E. Hobbs.