Local News

SBI investigating Franklin County Sheriff's Office

Posted January 31, 2011 1:22 p.m. EST
Updated January 31, 2011 9:24 p.m. EST

— One day after Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green resigned, state officials said Monday that the State Bureau of Investigation is investigating missing money in the sheriff's office.

Franklin County District Attorney Sam Currin asked for the SBI investigation, said Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice. Agents from elsewhere in the state might need to be brought in to handle the investigation because Green had a close relationship with area SBI agents, officials said.

No details of the investigation, such as how much money was missing and how long it had been gone, were immediately available.

"The first time I heard about the money was this weekend. That was the first that any kind of money had been discussed," said Boyd Sturges, a lawyer for the sheriff's office.

Currin said the missing money was revealed during a routine audit, which has been going on for weeks. Sturges expressed surprise that he wasn't informed of the audit earlier.

"Obviously, when mentions of malfeasance of money comes up, you'd like to know when that would occur," he said.

County Manager Angela Harris and County Attorney Darnell Batton declined to comment on the audit or Green's resignation.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners was expected to discuss the situation at a Monday night meeting.

Green submitted his resignation on Sunday, citing "major health and personal matters."

Louisburg residents said Monday that they wondered if the "personal matters" were related to the missing money.

"When you see government officials and people like that resigning, normally when they do, it's some kind of scandal they're trying to avoid," said Carlos Alston, a local barber. "It's sort of like a red flag, sort of makes you wonder, you know? The election hadn't been that long ago."

Green was elected in November to a second term as sheriff. He worked with the department for more than 20 years.

Chief Deputy Elliott Pinnell will oversee the sheriff's office while the county Board of Commissioners searches for someone to serve the remainder of his term. Commissioners said Monday that they would not appoint a new sheriff until after the conclusion of the SBI investigation.