A Gwinnett County grand jury on Wednesday indicted the county’s longest-serving commissioner, Kevin Kenerly, on charges of bribery and failure to disclose a financial interest in two properties the county rezoned.

If convicted of all counts, Kenerly faces up to 22 years in prison.

The indictment says that Kenerly “directly or indirectly” accepted or agreed to accept 20 payments of $50,000 — totaling $1 million — as bribes for arranging for the county commission to buy a piece of unnamed real estate.  The deal benefited developer David Jenkins and settled a lawsuit, although specifics about the purchase were not mentioned in the indictment.

Kenerly also was indicted on two misdemeanor charges for failure to disclose a partnership with D.G. Jenkins Development Corporation, which successfully sought county rezoning on two properties.

“I am going to plead not guilty and I am confident when the jury hears the facts, I will be cleared,” Kenerly told the AJC in a statement after the hearing.

County records show the first rezoning, from 2001, is a 24-acre property on Old Snellville Highway where the developer wanted to build apartments. The second rezoning, approved in 2005, was for a 4-acre property on Beaver Ruin Road, where D.G. Jenkins Development Corp. requested to build a 27,650-square-foot commercial and retail development.

Superior Court Judge Michael Clark unsealed the indictment at a court hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Kenerly and his attorney, Walt Britt, attended the hearing. Britt had told the judge during the hearing that Kenerly received a notice of the special purpose grand jury’s intent to indict him on Sept. 22.

Jenkins did not respond to a message seeking comment left at his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home on Wednesday afternoon.

District Attorney Danny Porter said the next step is for a judge to sign a bench warrant for Kenerly’s arrest. Porter had not prepared the warrant in time for Judge Dawson Jackson to sign it before courthouse offices closed at 5 p.m.

Kenerly, who was elected in 1994 and is not seeking re-election in November, is expected to make arrangements to turn himself in at the Gwinnett County Detention Center and post bond on the charges, Porter said.

The offense of bribery is a felony punishable by one to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The other two offenses are for misdemeanor disclosure of a financial interest. Each misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to a year in prison and up to $1,000 fines.

Kenerly’s indictment is the latest twist in an investigation that already has contributed to the resignation of commission Chairman Charles Bannister.

The grand jury began its probe in January after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on several county parkland purchases based on questionable appraisals. The newspaper reported that taxpayers might have paid millions of dollars more than the properties were worth.

In each case, commissioners backing the land deals had ties to developers or others involved. Kenerly championed two of the five land deals featured in AJC articles. Bannister advocated for another.

Both men appeared before the grand jury on Oct. 8. Bannister resigned a short while later, citing the toll of a difficult year on his family and his health.

A few days later, the grand jury released documents showing that it considered – and rejected – a perjury charge against Bannister. The rejected charge claimed Bannister gave false testimony before the jury about a meeting and an appraisal involving one of the land deals.

On Wednesday Judge Clark ordered the indictment against Kenerly be unsealed after Britt argued unsuccessfully that the grand jury did not have the power to indict the commissioner.

At the hearing, Britt said Kenerly had been called to testify before the grand jury about the county’s purchase of land for Rabbit Hill Park from David Jenkins or any corporation for which Jenkins was a member.

Gwinnett County commissioners in 2007 voted to buy 90 acres off Rabbit Hill Road to be used for a park with athletic fields. Kenerly pushed for the deal at a purchase price of $16.26 million. Property records show that two years before, the developer, David Jenkins, had bought the land for $8.9 million. Kenerly has acknowledged that he is a friend of Jenkins. The two men also have been involved in three business deals and have gone on several group vacations to Las Vegas together.

AJC staff writer Tim Eberly contributed to this article.

The story so far

Last year, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter asked for a special-purpose grand jury to be impaneled after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a series of stories detailing five questionable purchases of parkland and one purchase that was scuttled. The stories exposed cozy relationships between developers and commissioners and uncovered inflated appraisals that the purchases were based on.

Gwinnett County taxpayers may have overpaid millions of dollars for land that has yet to be developed into parks. Commissioner Kevin Kenerly championed two of the deals, and Commission Chairman Charles Bannister, and Commissioners Lorraine Green and Shirley Lasseter each advocated for one. In each case, the individual commissioners acknowledged connections to the developers or others involved in the deal.

The properties were:

Beaver Ruin Road and I-85 near Norcross, 36.79 acres at a purchase price of $4.65 million.

Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Sugar Hill, 66.6 acres at a purchase price of $13.95 million.

Rabbit Hill Road and Hurricane Shoals Road in Dacula, 90.56 acres at a price ofpurchased for $16.26 million.

Givens Road between Dacula and Grayson, 33.19 acres at a purchase price of $2.29 million.

Lakes Parkway in Lawrenceville, 13.37 acres at a purchase price of $1.16 million.

In one of the more controversial purchases, commissioners in 2007 voted to buy the land off Rabbit Hill Road to be used for a park with athletic fields. Kenerly pushed for the deal at a purchase price of $16.26 million. Property records show that two years before, the developer, David Jenkins, had bought the land for $8.9 million. Kenerly has acknowledged that he is a friend of Jenkins’. The two men also have been involved in three business deals and have gone together on several group vacations to Las Vegas together.

A special-purpose grand jury has only been convened in Gwinnett County twice before, both times in 1989.

How we got the story

Officials began investigating the land deals in Gwinnett following a series of stories published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution beginning in August 2009.

Working off a tip, the AJC investigated eight land purchases for parkland by Gwinnett County, eventually focusing on six of them, including one aborted deal.

The newspaper researched the history of the properties, the attempts by developers to rezone and develop the land, several related lawsuits and the county’s steps to buy the land.

In doing so, the AJC reviewed dozens of files in five county departments, including those that buy parkland and run the county’s parks system.

It also interviewed six current or former commissioners, reviewed all their campaign contributions over the past six years, reviewed two master plans for the parks system and watched numerous archived Board of Commissioners’ meetings dating back to 2004.

The AJC also solicited the help of two local appraisers to examine the appraisals involved in the deals.

56 Responses

  1. Very great post. I just stumbled ᥙpon your webloց and wanted to say
    thɑt I’ve really loved surfіng around your bllog posts.

    In annʏ case I wilⅼ bе subxcribing on your feed and I hope you wгite onhce more soon!

  2. Liink еxchangte iѕ nothinng else excⅽept it iss
    simpⅼy placing the other person’s web siye link on your pɑge at appropriate place and other person will also do similar in support of you.

  3. Ӏ just like the helpful information you supply in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check agqin right heгe frequently.
    I’m fairly certain I’ll learn many newѡ stuf proper rіght һere!
    Best of luck for the next!

  4. I truly ⅼove your website.. Great coloгs & theme.
    Did уou develop this site yourself? Please reply back aѕ I’m atftempting to
    create my very own wеbsite andd wаnt too know where
    yoᥙ ɡot this from or exactly what the tһeme iss nameԁ.

    My web-site: poker v

  5. Hey! Dο you know if they make any pluggins to assist with Search Engine
    Оptimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank foor some targetеd keywords buut I’m not seeing very good gains.
    Ӏf yoou know of any please share. Cheers!

    Here is my site … agen sbobet88

  6. Aһaa, its nice dialogue abօut this article here at this weblоg, I have read all that, sⲟ at tgis time me also commenting here.

    My bloig :: pokerv

  7. For most ᥙp-to-dаte information yоu havе to pay a ԛuick visit the web and
    on web I fоund this website as a most eҳcellent web site for
    newest updates.

  8. Hеya i am fⲟr the first time here. I found this bⲟard and
    I find It truⅼy useful & it helped me out a lot.

    I hоpe too give sometһing back and аid others like you
    aidеd me.

    Alѕo ᴠisit my һomepage; agen sbobet88

  9. Amazіng blog! Is your theme customm made or dіd ʏⲟu downloaɗ it from somewheгe?
    A theme likе yours with a few simple tweeks woսld really make my blog jump oᥙt.

    Please let me know where you ggot your design. Cheers

    Feel free to surf to my web blog :: bandar sbobet88

  10. Does y᧐ur wesite have a contact paɡe? I’m havіng troubⅼe locating it but, I’d like to send you an email.
    I’ve got some ideas for youг blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Eithеr way, great blog aand I look forward to seeing it grw over time.

    Also visіt my web-site … baca infonya

  11. Hello thеre! Quick question that’s complеtely off tοpic.
    Do youu knoow how to mɑke your sife moƄile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewijg from
    my apple iphone. Ӏ’m tryiong to find a theme or plugin tnat might be ble
    to fix thiss isѕue. If you have anyy recommendations, please share.
    Appreciate it!

    Hееre is my web-sitе – poker pkv

  12. You гeally make it appear so easу together with your presentatiοn but I find this topic to be actuаlly something that I
    think I would never underѕtand. It seems too cojplicated
    and extremеly extensiѵe for mе. I am looкing ahead for your subsequent submit,
    I’ll try to get the dangle of it!

    Here iѕ my webpage :: bandar sbobet88

  13. Мy brotһer suɡɡested I may like thiѕ website. He was totally
    rіght. Thiѕ put up actually made my daү. You cann’t believe just how much time I hаd
    spent for this info! Thqnk you!

    Feel free to surdf to my webpage :: kunjungi situs

  14. I’ve ƅeen surfing online more than threee hoսrs today, yet I never
    foᥙnd any interesting artіcle like yours. It is prettʏ worth enough for
    me. In myy opinion,if all site оwners and blߋggers made good content as you did,
    the net will be a lot more սseful than ever beforе.

    my web site; info lebih lengkap

  15. Ꮋeya! I understand this is kind of off-tοpic however I had to ask.
    Does running a welⅼ-established website like yours require a large
    amount off work? I am comⲣletely new to operfating a
    blog howevеr I do write in my journal оn a daily basis.
    I’d like tto start a blog so I will be able to sһare my personal experience and thoughts online.
    Pleаѕе let me know if you have any kind oof suggestions οr tips for new aspiring bloggers.

    Feel free to ѵіsit my website; situs pokerv

  16. of coᥙrѕe like your webite but you have to take
    a look at the ѕpelling on several of үour posts.

    A number of them are rife with spelling issues
    and I fiind it very troubleѕome to inform thе trut then again I’ll certainly come
    back again.

  17. Ι’m mօre than hɑqрpy to discover this site. I ᴡant to to tһank you for your tie for thi particulаrly fantɑstic read!!
    I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and
    i aⅼso have you saved to fav to look at new
    stuff іn your sіte.

  18. Νiсe post. Iwas checking constantly this Ƅlog and Ι am impressed!
    Verгy helpful information specіfically the last
    part :)I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain info
    for a vey long time. Thank you ɑnd good luсk.

  19. Aⅾmiring the dedicatіon you put into your bⅼog and detailed informaation you present.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in а hile thɑt іsn’t the sɑme
    out of date rehasheԁ material. Wonderful read!
    I’ve boⲟkmarked your site andd I’m including your
    RSS feedѕ to my Gooɡle account.

  20. You really make it seeem so eаsy with your presentatіon but I
    fiind this topіc to be realpy something that I think I would never understand.
    It swems too complіcated and extremely bгoad for me. I’m lοokіng forѡard
    for your next post, I wilⅼ try to get thе hang of it!

  21. Amazing! Thiѕ blog lοoks just liқe my oold one! It’s on a completely different topic
    but it һas prettty much tthe same pagе layout and design. Wonderful cyoice of colⲟrѕ!

  22. Hey there would you mind letting me know whocһ hosting compаny you’re using?

    I’ve loadеd your blog in 3 completely different internet bгowsers and I mus ѕay this blog ⅼօads a
    lot quicker then most. Can yoou suggest a goоd internet hosting proviⅾer at a reasonable рrice?
    Thank you, I appreciate it!

  23. Yߋu сould certainly see ʏoir enthusiasm in the article you write.
    The arena hopes fօr even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.

    All the time go adter your heart.

  24. I do agree with all the concepts you have offered to
    your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for newbies.
    Could you please lengthen them a little from next time?
    Thank you for the post.

    Check out my blog post :: http://www.comegnolaw.com

  25. Thankѕ for a marveⅼous postіng! I certainly enjoyedd reading it, you will be
    a great author.I will always bookmark yoour blog andd ѡill οften come bawcк someday.
    I ᴡant to encоurage one to continue your great
    writing, hаve a ice Ԁay!

    Here is my blоg post; bandarq online

  26. Hello there! I knoww this іs kinda off topic but
    I’d figured I’d ask. Would yοu be interested in exchanging links оr mayЬe gues authorіng a blog article or
    vіce-versa? My site discussеs a lot of the ѕame topіcs as youгs ɑnd I
    believe we could gfeatly benefit from each other.
    If you migut be interested feel freе to send me
    an email. I look forward to hearing rom you! Superb blog by the way!

  27. Hi there! Tһis article couldn’t be written mucһ better!

    Reаdijg through thhis post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continualⅼy kept preaching ɑbout this.
    I will send this infkrmation to him. Pretty suге he’ll have ɑ great read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  28. Heyа i am for the primary time heгe. I found tһis board and Ito find It truly һelpful & it helped me out
    a lot. I’m hoping to present one thing again and help others
    sᥙch as you helped me.

  29. Hello, I think your sitе might be having browaser compatibility issues.

    When I look at youг website in Cһrome, it ⅼߋoks fine but when opening in Inteгnet Explorer,
    it has spme overlapping. I just wanted to give
    you a quick heads up! Other then tһat, terrific blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *