Move means Gov. Kemp will appoint replacement until case is resolved
Gov. Brian Kemp is officially suspending Hart County Commissioner R.C. Oglesby from office.
Kemp will now appoint a temporary replacement to fill Oglesby’s District 1 seat on the board of commissioners, state law dictates.
An executive order issued by Kemp dated Sept. 30, but released publicly on Oct. 1, officially suspends Oglesby from office.
In the executive order, Kemp said the review commission tasked with investigating Oglesby’s indictment found that the indictment does “relate to and does adversely affect the administration of the office of the Commissioner” and adversely affects the rights and interests of the public.
The review commission, consisting of state Attorney General Chris Carr, Georgetown-Quitman County commissioner Carvel Lewis and Columbia County commissioner Doug Duncan, recommended Oglesby be suspended from office.
The written report from the review commission is not public record under Georgia law.
The suspension takes effect immediately and without further action pending the final disposition of the case or until the expiration of his term of office, whichever occurs first. Oglesby will continue to receive compensation for his position as a commissioner, according to state law.
Oglesby has qualified as an independent candidate for the District 1 seat that’s up for grabs in the upcoming general election in November. Oglesby is the incumbent.
The court case against Oglesby is still pending and jury trials have not yet resumed in Hart County.
The governor’s office did not act on the review commission until August because although Hart County attorney Walter Gordon sent a certified copy of the Oglesby indictment to the governor in February, District Attorney Parks White must send it to start the review process under state law. White sent the indictment after the governor’s office informed The Sun following an open records request in June that it had no documentation of the indictment.
Oglesby was arrested in November 2019 on charges that he and his son, Steven Oglesby, allegedly operated an organized crime scheme in which they and other family members are accused of trading EBT cards and cash for drugs and using the cards to purchase food and other supplies for various businesses the family owned.
R.C. Oglesby was accused in the indictment of being the ring leader of the scheme and for using his office to further the alleged enterprise. The charges were filed under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. The indictment charges Oglesby with 10 counts of theft by shoplifting, one count of financial transaction card theft and two counts of financial transaction card fraud.
Oglesby’s attorney, Atlanta-based Bruce Harvey, previously denied all of the allegations against his client in a letter to the governor after the indictment was sent to his office by the district attorney in July.
In the letter obtained by The Sun, Harvey said Oglesby would not agree to a voluntary suspension and claims “it is clear that the charges in the indictment do not ‘relate to the performance or activities’ of his office as a Hart County Commissioner.”
“Unless the position of a County Commissioner includes the alleged theft by shoplifting of, inter alia, ‘Little Debbie oatmeal cakes’ or ‘Carolina brand bacon’,” Harvey said in the letter in a footnote.
Also in the letter, Harvey called White’s request to appoint a review commission “a belated attempt to smear Commissioner Oglesby, impact his reelection campaign, and try his case in the press.”
The District 1 seat on the Hart County Board of Commissioners has been empty at meetings since November when Oglesby agreed to a voluntary suspension as a condition of his bond.
Oglesby, who has been a county commissioner for nearly three decades, qualified in March to run for reelection as an independent candidate for the District 1 seat on the board of commissioners. An indictment on felony charges does not prevent him from running for office because he has not been convicted of any crimes.
If an elected official is convicted of a felony while in office, the governor would remove that official from office.
If a suspended elected official is acquitted or the charges dropped, the suspension would be lifted and the official could again serve in the office to which he was elected.