Current and former Houston County commissioners were among the first to testify in front of a special grand jury looking into possible corruption involving issues related to Country Crossing. The panel was seated at the request of Attorney General Luther Strange who was not at the courthouse Monday.
Chairman Culver and current commissioners Curtis Harvey, Doug Sinquefield, Jackie Battles, and Melinda McClendon arrived shortly after lunch. They were joined by former commissioners Frances Cook and Bobby Snellgrove.
Culver, shortly after the subpoenas were issued last month, said the commission is happy to cooperate with the investigation. None of the commissioners commented Monday. A spokesperson for Strange also declined to discuss the matter.
A separate subpoena was issued by Strange in early September seeking records regarding the commission and its relationship with the Houston Economic Development Authority. It was created by the commission to oversee the operation and charity funds from bingo games played at the now-defunct Country Crossing. Those documents are believed to have been handed over in October. McClendon, Sinquefield, and Battles were not members of the commission at the time the county took action regarding Country Crossing and HEDA.
A filing by the attorney general's office states testimony is expected to be extensive and will require the grand jury to meet periodically over the next year. It was filed by Miles M. Hart, Public Corruption Special Prosecutor. None of the commissioners have been implicated of wrongdoing at this time.
The range of the probe beyond HEDA and Country Crossing is not known. Grand jury testimony is private and cannot be legally divulged until the grand jury reports its finding and arrests, if any, are made.