Former Allenhurst city clerk Jeffrey McClure was arrested Tuesday morning by Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and charged with theft by taking pertaining to government funds, according to Cathy Sapp, special agent-in-charge of the Statesboro GBI office.
The charge is in regard to money only, Sapp said. There is no missing property. She said the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, which had questions about the way the city’s funds were being handled, requested July 24 that the GBI investigate McClure. The probe led to the former clerk’s arrest.
Allenhurst Mayor Thomas Hines said Tuesday afternoon that he became aware of discrepancies in the city’s books the first week in June when city auditor Emily Coiner of Brunswick brought it to Hines’ attention. Allenhurst’s operating budget is $95,000.
Hines said he immediately asked McClure about the discrepancies, and McClure said he did not know where the money was. Hines dismissed McClure, who had been employed by the city since 2008 with a $4,800 annual salary.
Hines said he consulted with city attorney Robert Pirkle, notified the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office later that day and filed a report on the missing money.
Hines wouldn’t divulge how much money is missing but said it is a significant amount for the tiny city that is west of Hinesville.
“I’m upset,” said Hines, who is in his second mayoral term. “When I hired Jeffrey, I trusted him to be honest and truthful. I’m the mayor. I’m responsible for the city funds.”
Hines said McClure was required to present a fiscal plan to the city council at its monthly meetings.
McClure has had his first appearance before a magistrate judge and bond was set at $5,600, according to Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Keith Moran. He currently is being housed in the Liberty County Jail.