One day after allegations surfaced that Cherokee Recycling owner Jimmy Bobo illegally attempted to conceal cash campaign donations to her before the 2004 primary election, Commissioner Karen Bosch announced today that she will not seek re-election.
But it wasn't those allegations that prompted Bosch to forego a shot at another term. The decision, she said in a statement, was personal.
“After losing my son in a motorcycle accident only two days before the July 2008 primary, this last term has been very difficult,” Bosch said. “I really appreciate national candidates such as Sarah Palin who have spoken out about the hardships of holding office or campaigning on the family. Many times our family members have to sit back and watch their loved one unfairly insulted and ridiculed. That puts a lot of strain on the family unit.”
Before today's announcement, she'd told the Cherokee Tribune that the accusations levied against her were part of her ex-husband's efforts to discredit her.
The Canton Tea Party made the accusations during a Tuesday press conference on the steps of the , according to the . Keith “Eddie” Mahurin, Bosch's ex-husband, was at the press conference, but didn't make any comments.
Patch was not invited to the press conference, but Tea Party leader Carolyn Cosby emailed her remarks to Canton-Sixes Patch today.
Related: See the verbatim text of Tuesday's press conference at the bottom of this story.
Bobo is the man at the center of a controversy that has been brewing for the past month. Cherokee commissioners in 2007 financed his recycling facility with an $18 million bond issue, according to the Cherokee Ledger-News.
When Bobo failed to make payments owed on the bonds, the county in February moved $1.8 million out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds into the general fund to cover the payments on the debt.
Open the attached PDF under Bosch's picture for the full text of her announcement.
TEXT OF TUESDAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE
Good afternoon. Welcome to the Press Conference by the Review and Recommendation Committee supported by the Canton TP. The individual who has revealed the facts surrounding the bundled anonymous cash donations is Mr. Keith Mahurin. He is on hand today in support of his written affidavit. He will not be answering press questions.
I am Carolyn Cosby, Chairman for the Review and Recommendation Committee and the local organizer for the Canton TEA PARTY.
We are facing one of the more serious situations we have faced in Cherokee County.
And, just when we thought things could not get any worse, they did.
There has been considerable debate as to whether or not the Bobo Boondoggle is legal or has it somehow been squeezed into the edges of the law. It is, without defense. a corrupt back-room deal deliberately set-up in secrecy.
When the Commissioners led by Jim Hubbard, Harry Johnston, Karen Bosch and Buzz Ahrens plotted and schemed to set up the so-called legal Resource Recovery Development Authority they set in place what can only be described as an investment mechanism that is funneling money to bankers, lawyers, investors, and now it looks like even some commissioners. But, it carries an enormous price tag for the taxpayers.
We have a smoking gun and it appears Bobo has made illegal cash campaign contributions to influence Commissioner votes. This comes as no surprise, as the county gave Bobo and indefensible and unbelievable “sweetheart’ deal – “ $18 M to build a stump grinding business that should have cost no more than $4 to $5 million. That’s a lot of left over money to play around with.
Today we are presenting a sworn affidavit and the remaining evidence of what appears to be an illegal attempt by Mr. Jimmie Bobo to conceal cash campaign donations to Commissioner Karen Bosch.
Before the election of 2004, Mr. Keith Mahurin, married to Karen Bosch at the time, received a call from her telling him that Jimmie Bobo would be coming by his office to leave a campaign contribution. Bobo did come by and took cash out of his pocket and asked for 10 envelopes. Bobo then put a $100 bill in each envelope and wrote various names on the outside. Eddie took the envelopes home and gave them to his wife. Some time later, the envelopes were found by Mr. Mahurin in an old campaign folder left in a box in his attic.
(These are the original envelopes. The $100 bills in the envelopes today show how they were received by Mr. Mahurin.)
A thorough analysis of the campaign donations of the Commissioners shows dramatic and significant rises in anonymous cash donations during the years leading up to the Bobo deal and immediately after. It doesn’t look good. More and more our suspicions of corrupt cronyism are being confirmed.
As you can see from the graph, Harry Johnston, the commission’s resident bond authority showed the most significant jump in unidentified campaign contributions in the year 2008. Particularly, now that Mr. Mahurin has come forward, these large undisclosed donations are highly suspect, and raise serious questions of their origin, for which the commissioners must answer.
This evidence and the affidavit will be turned over today to the District Attorney Garry Moss. We are calling for a full grand jury investigation.
I want to be perfectly clear, we don’t object to Bobo making legal contributions within the limits of law to the candidates of his choice. That is his privilege to do so, just like every other American citizen.
But, we’d like him to pay his rent first – his obligation to the county taxpayers!!!
Which, I may add, no one has denied that he could already be paying.
In closing, the Canton TP has taken the initiative to develop for what we are calling a Contract for Cherokee County Families.
The Canton TEA PARTY in response to this highly suspicious campaign financing is calling on local candidates for office to declare all their contributions and identify their donors.
Particularly, the Canton TP has decided to recognize our own candidates as TP “favorites.” While in this election this is not a official endorsement, we believe it will go a long way in supporting their campaigns.
However, to receive the title, our candidates must agree to reveal the identity of all their donors to include those donations under $100. This, of course, is not required by law. But some means of political pressure must be brought to bear on Bosch and Hubbard, both up for re-election this time. We cannot allow them to “legally” report thousands and thousands of dollars of unidentified donors without a challenge.
Thus far of the 10 nominated candidates, more than half have agreed. And, our nominees for TP “favorites” is being led by our own Senator Chip Rogers and the Georgia Senate Majority leader. Among others is Rep. Charlice Byrd, recognized as the most conservative house member in the state. Additionally, both our TP challengers to the Board of Commissioners have pledged to sign on, county well-known and highly favored Channing Ruskell and Brian Poole, respected funeral home director caring for our bereaved families.
Would those candidates on hand to sign the pledge come forward to do so?
Are there any questions from the press?