Gwinnett impanels special grand jury to investigate land deals
Gwinnett County judges have created a special grand jury to investigate land purchases by county government, including parks, libraries, highway right-of-way and — probably — the home of the Gwinnett Braves.
An order filed Wednesday ordered creation of the grand jury under the oversight of Superior Court Judge Michael Clark. The order said a majority of Gwinnett’s 10 Superior Court judges approved the action.
District Attorney Danny Porter called for the special grand jury last week to look into a series of controversial land purchases by the Gwinnett County Commission. The jury will serve as long as necessary, rather than stepping down after several months, as a normal jury would.
Porter said today he has already assembled details of 41 parkland buys since 2005, including appraised values and purchase prices. Those will be followed by particulars on purchases for libraries, road rights of way and other property. He said the jury “probably” will look at the county’s 2008, $5 million purchase of 12 acres near Lawrenceville to be the home of the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves baseball team.
The grand jury will be presented details of the land deals as well as testimony from county officials about purchasing procedures. Porter said he will let the jury decide which deals to probe further — although he may have a few suggestions of his own for them.