Dispute between Falls County DA and City of Marlin
An ongoing dispute between Falls County District Attorney, Jody Gilliam, and Marlin City Manager, Cedric Davis, was resolved Friday, March 6 when City Officials gave legally requested documents to the County.
What began as an email developed into a full blown legal quarrel between the two government entities over documentation from the ongoing forensic audit being conducted by the City of Marlin.
"It's for the citizens of Marlin. It has been put on TV and the citizens need to know. We have a lot of bumpy roads in Marlin and we need that money to fix our roads if it is missing," said Gilliam.
The email led to subpoena for the records, directed at Davis. According to anonymous sources, city officials were invited to speak with the county about the audit, but were initially unwilling to do so.
The audit, which began back in November of 2019, discovered that there were a number of voided checks, account changes and deletions, and name changes on accounts, which all suggested that thousands of dollars were missing from the city’s funds. All of the activity was conducted just days before the audit, officials said, which raised suspicions.
"As we stated before in the very beginning no one has been charged," said Marlin City Attorney, DeAndrea Petty. "No one is a suspect. We are trying to see what happened. We told the citizens of Marlin when we came they were the priority. So this audit was to see if there is something, or if there is nothing.”
A motion was filed by the City of Marlin on Davis’ behalf to quash the obligations of the subpoena, as Davis is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and was not available at the time of the hearing with the grand jury.
When Davis did not show for the Thursday hearing, City officials were given an ultimatum to have the documents to the court by 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Leaders from the city, along with DA Gilliam, all appeared in the 82nd Judicial Court at the Falls County Courthouse that morning to discuss the DA’s issued subpoena.
They submitted the documents hours before the deadline, maintaining that what little information they have is available through means of public record.
“[Gilliam] wanted to know what had been provided to the forensic auditor in terms of background information,” said former Appeals Court Judge Morris Overstreet, representing Cedric Davis, “and we’ve provided that information in terms of what’s been made public already.” It is possible Davis might have been arrested if they had not done so, as Gilliam says she could have had a warrant issued for his lack of attendance the previous day.
“We have received no updates on the forensic audit. It’s an ongoing process and we are waiting for the process to play out,” Mayor Carolyn Lofton told reporters in a press conference after the courtroom discussion.
The information provided will be used to provide clarity to County officials about the unaccounted for funds and help determine if criminal charges need to be filed in the future. It is unclear if charges are intended for city officials or other individuals.
District Attorney Gilliam stated in court that there is a possibility of more subpoenas in the future, so there may be more to the story in coming weeks.