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State finds policy violations at Perry fairgrounds | News

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State finds policy violations at Perry fairgrounds

A state investigation of management at the Georgia National Fair says the former executive director violated several state policies.

Ransom Moore retired Dec. 31, while the inspector general's investigation was still under way. But the investigation file obtained by 13WMAZ showed that the state agency spent more than a year looking into complaints filed by employees at the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority, which runs the Perry fairgrounds.

A letter from Inspector General Deborah Wallace to Governor Nathan Deal's office lists their findings. 

Click here to read the letter.

Wallace wrote:

-- Moore’s office improperly changed its policy for compensating employees for unused leave.

-- The fair agency approved cash payments to employees for unused leave. That would require approval from the governor's budget office, Wallace wrote.

-- Moore signed a document approving annual leave for the fair's new communications director, Stacy Campbell, that she had not yet earned.

-- And Wallace cited eyewitness account that Moore and Campbell were seen drinking wine after hours in his office. That would violate rules against alcohol use on state property and workplaces.

According to Wallace's letter, Moore said he and Campbell were celebrating completion of "a successful rodeo event."

Although investigators "found no evidence of an inappropriate relationship between Moore and Campbell," Wallace wrote, "such behavior created the appearance of one" and disrupted fair operations.

The report says they looked into other issues at the fairgrounds. They included a complaint from Robert Irwin Sr., who said Moore created a hostile environment by calling him names and ridiculing his weight.

Irwin also claimed that fair officials inflated their attendance figures. This year, the fair announced a total attendance of more than 501,000 people.

Steve Rodgers, the fair's chief administrative officer, submitted background information on how the number was calculated, and Wallace's letter does not challenge that figure. Wallace's letter says that many of the complaints were resolved during the investigation. Her only recommendation was that fair officials review Campbell's violation of the drinking policy for possible discipline.

We could not reach Moore for comment.

Campbell says she was unaware of the findings of the investigation and says she needs to review them. 

The State Inspector General's office was created to investigate waste, fraud, abuse and corruption. They have oversight over 86 state agencies, more than 100,000 employees and vendors.

The Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry hosts hundreds of events each year, including the Georgia National Fair in October.


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