Fitzgerald's Official Misconduct Charge Reinstated

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Byline: DEBORAH CEARNAL

The lone felony charge against former County Commissioner Christy Fitzgerald has been refiled, and when it will be tried has yet to be determined.

The official misconduct accusation was dropped in October, when Judge Richard O. Watson granted a defense motion that the wording in the grand jury's indictment was not specific.

But because the charge was dismissed "without prejudice," Assistant State Attorney Stephen W. Siegel was able to refile the third-degree felony.

Previously left out, the new wording identifies Fitzgerald as "a public servant" who, "with corrupt intent to obtain a benefit for any person or to cause harm to another," did not advise the County Commission on what she knew of the illegal dumping and use of materials and labor from the public works department.

The four identical charges against Arthur Ivey, Clay County's former public works director, were dismissed at the same time. Siegel said Friday that he still is weighing whether to resubmit those.

Ivey's attorney, Hank Coxe, also is seeking to have two counts of grand theft thrown out. The charges accuse Ivey of taking drain plugs valued at more than $300. The motion "relates to the destruction or loss of evidence by the Clay County Sheriff's Office," Siegel explained. The motion says the report documenting the alleged theft was "incinerated" by that office, according to the investigating officer.

Without the information, Ivey would be denied due process rights, Coxe reasons. …