Libel lawsuit filed against Camden Commissioner-elect

July 30 – Camden County Administrator Steve Howard sues one of his future bosses, Camden County Commissioner-elect Jim Goodman.

Goodman, currently a St. Marys City Councilman, won the Republican primary election for the Camden County commission and faced no opposition in the November election.

Goodman ran a weekly advertisement in May criticizing Howard for his lack of oversight as Public Service Authority finances were plundered by former Camden PSA director William Brunson for 15 years.

Brunson was fired after the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien against the PSA for $1.5 million, and about $500,000 of the sales tax money on special purpose local options was spent for projects not on the approved list. After the problems emerged, county officials contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Brunson used a Camden County PSA credit card for personal use, including the purchase of vintage cars and auto parts. He was sentenced in 2020 to a 32-month term in federal prison, ordered to pay $677,768.40 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release after his prison term ended.

After the announcement was published, Howard contacted Goodman to request a correction.

The PSA Board of Directors is made up of the mayors of Kingsland, St. Marys and Woodbine, as well as two county commissioners.

Howard had nothing to do with overseeing PSA’s board or its finances until the thefts were discovered in 2018 and he asked staff to look into PSA’s finances.

Following this review of PSA finances, it was later discovered that Camden County Chief Financial Officer Mike Fender and his wife had received two payments of $32,000 without any documentation explaining how the money would be used. . Fender was then fired.

Howard gave Goodman a week to recant, but he did not, resulting in the lawsuit.

“The defendant’s actions show willful misconduct, malice, fraud, gratuitousness, oppression or any such lack of care that would raise the presumption of knowing disregard of consequences,” according to the lawsuit.

On Friday, Goodman said he could only confirm that he had been sued by Howard and was in the process of finding an attorney to represent him.

About Charles D. Goolsby

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