Former Clayton County Sheriff Spends Second Night In Jail

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Former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, apparently broke from lawsuits during his time in office, had to stay in jail Thursday while his attorneys scrambled to find a way to cover the $50,000 bond.

Still in bankruptcy, Hill has no house to use for collateral. On Wednesday, Hill was indicted on 37 felony counts that include  racketeering and theft by taking for allegedly using county funds and his 2008  re-election campaign funds for himself. When he filed for bankruptcy in late 2008, Hill had four judgments totaling more than $1.7 million he had not paid.

Bonding companies in Clayton County are unwilling to cover him because no one has stepped forward to pay the bond, according to attorney Musa Ghanayem and Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, whose office approves all bonding companies operating in Clayton.

Ghanayem said the bonding businesses were afraid of political reprisals, but on Thursday, Kimbrough disputed that, saying he talked with a number of bonding companies in Clayton that told him, “They don’t think it’s appropriate to post a bond for a former sheriff because sheriffs regulate bonding.”

As of late Thursday afternoon, no one had offered to put up the money  to free Hill from the Gwinnett County Jail.

Four of the six bonding companies certified to operate in Clayton declined to comment.

Hill said the charges are an effort by his successor and the district  attorney to derail his race for sheriff this year. Hill said Wednesday he still plans to run,  and Georgia law says he can hold office as long as he has not been  convicted.

Kimbrough denies that the case against Hill is about politics: “I didn’t tell him [Hill] to do those things. … I didn’t create the evidence. I just put all the pieces together.”

Throughout the 37 counts, investigators describe a sheriff who used the county’s money and campaign funds to enrich himself and for romantic getaways, shopping sprees and vacations out of state.

The indictment said he also assigned county employees to campaign duties during work hours, and he took a jail employee on trips with him but she continued to be paid because her absence was considered paid administrative leave or sick time.

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