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Contractor says decision vindicates him
City pleased with water settlement
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Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards said he has confidence in the judicial system and was happy with a settlement between the city and Paul Krebs Construction.
The settlement closed more than two years of investigation by the Hinesville Police Department into the alleged theft of water and sewer services, reportedly from 1979 to 2006.
Krebs attorney, Billy Jones, said the settlement did not imply Krebs was guilty.
"After review of all of this information we first obtained a letter from Mr. (Tom) Durden, the district attorney, stating that there was no evidence that Mr. Krebs had committed any wrong doing whatsoever," Jone said, adding he and his client cooperated during the investigation. "And that the final outcome of this matter completely vindicates Mr. Krebs and positively concludes that he was guilty of absolutely nothing other then trying to cooperate with an investigation."
The investigation started when a former Krebs employee, Donnie Davis, reportedly told an OMI employee he knew the company was stealing the services from the city.
Authorities got more than 20 search warrants on property owned, operated or built upon by Krebs' company. They ranged from mobile home parks and apartments to businesses and residences.
"All those issues were resolved under this case and settlement," Edwards said.
During the investigations Davis reportedly told authorities he was instructed by Krebs to route pipes to bypass meters thereby stealing the services. During the settlement court documents show that Davis was listed as the co-defendant and during the plea he said he acted independently.
As part of settling the superior court case, Krebs Construction was not prosecuted. Krebs paid $31,294 as restitution to the city through its attorney Billy Jones.
"We paid a civil restitution to the city but there is a huge difference between a civil restitution and criminal wrongdoing," the attorney said.
He said he and Krebs did not believe any restitution was due, but that they wanted to end the case.
"But in an effort to help it all go away we agreed to pay that," Jones said. "We didn't feel like they could prove that any water had been taken at all, none had been taken, but we were tired of dealing with the issue."
Edwards said the city's financial experts determined the amount of the restitution.
Davis pled guilty to a misdemeanor in state court after he recanted his original story.
Davis was fined $500 and was given a suspended sentence.
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