Charges Dismissed in Clay Scandal; the Official Misconduct Counts Are Affected, but Some Other Accusations Remain

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Byline: ANNE MARIE APOLLO

Official misconduct charges against two figureheads in a Clay County illegal dumping scandal have been dismissed - at least for now - over wording.

A judge agreed with defense attorney motions that the state failed to allege the pair had corrupt intent, along with other criteria crucial to the charge.

The counts against suspended County Commissioner Christy Fitzgerald and former county Public Works Director Arthur Ivey were dismissed Saturday, though the judge left the State Attorney's Office with an option to present the charge a second time.

Both Fitzgerald and Ivey face additional charges of theft. Ivey also is charged with illegal dumping.

They were indicted in March after a grand jury investigation into the uproar. Clean-up costs linked to piles of illegal materials found in county-operated sites could reach $9 million.

Ivey, who was public works director when the dumping occurred, was singled out by the grand jury on charges that he allowed county employees leave to work on private projects, among other infractions.

Fitzgerald is accused of benefiting from that practice.

Public Works employees are alleged to have performed work on the former commissioner's home on Ivey's orders, including sandbagging before storms. …