Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cisco Declines to Talk at Hearing; He Deflects Questions on His Role at Truck Stops in a Racketeering Lawsuit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cisco Declines to Talk at Hearing; He Deflects Questions on His Role at Truck Stops in a Racketeering Lawsuit

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON JACKSON

WOODBINE - Fairley Cisco, the original owner of three Camden County service stations shut down in February for shorting customers on fuel purchases, had a two-word response for questions posed by lawyers in a civil racketeering suit.

"I decline,'' Cisco said repeatedly after he was wheeled into a Camden County courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

Cisco was called as a witness in a hearing to determine if a court-appointed receiver should continue to manage the stations and the assets of anyone who had a financial stake in the businesses since 2000. Lawyers for the current owners assert the $45,000 weekly cost of the receiver is far too much.

Cisco deviated from his response two times, once when District Attorney Stephen Kelley asked his first question: Who built the house Cisco is currently occupying in Camden County?

Cisco read a prepared statement saying he would exercise his Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to answer any questions "to protect me from being compelled to testify about things that could incriminate me."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is conducting a criminal probe of the truck stops.

The only time Cisco answered a question was when he was asked why he was in a courtroom on a stretcher.

"I'm here because my attorney told me," Cisco testified.

When asked why he was on a stretcher, Cisco said, "My back's broken."

But he refused to answer any other question from Kelley including one on his current role running the two Cisco Travel Plazas and the Cisco Express gas station that were shut down for 16 days beginning Feb. 12. The Georgia Agriculture Department shut down the businesses' fuel pumps after a state inspector determined customers were shorted about one quart of fuel for every five gallons pump gauges indicated was dispensed.

Kelley asked Cisco if he paid a Department of Agriculture inspector $20,000 a month to warn his station about the times of unannounced inspections. …

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