On the day Charles Walker was released from his federal prison cell and brought to a local “halfway house” to finish out his 10-year sentence, I spent 90 percent of my award-winning radio show pondering the phrase that sits atop this column.
Sad thing, three hours of “pondering,” and lots of input on the issue from all kinds of interesting people, and not a single one of them was in the mood to defend the embattled, long-time Columbia County Tax Commissioner Kay Allen.
Other articles in this paper have given you the details in the strange allegations as we know them to be. Read those pieces first, then come back here for the conclusions many plugged-in folks seem to have adopted.
When it comes to rank and file employees, this letter best represents the 30 or so notes I have gotten:
My husband is a CC employee and has dealt with Kay Allen over the years through his job.
The Kroger incident is consistent with what he describes as her punitive character. She isn’t losing her mind. People haven’t ever stepped forward about her over the years because of FEAR and she has been untouchable.
Apparently she is nice to those who can do something for her, and she treats those “beneath” her with an arrogant attitude. And the ONE guy who called (your radio show) to defend her was defending the Allen’s family as a whole. He didn’t defend her character directly… I do my think he is very close to her… he has just been around the family from what I heard him say. He also said the Allen’s dig ditches… really does Kay Allen dig ditches? He wasn’t describing HER… he was describing the family. That doesn’t count as someone stepping forward to defend her integrity.
Anyway, good job of exploring this. I was worried at first that you were sympathizing with her and offering her an easy way out but after hearing you today, I think you are accurate and being fair.
Thank you very very much for discussing this in depth and for having (Metro Spirit publisher) Joe White on… he gave good insight. Very informative. I am excited to hear what happens tomorrow. Remember Austin, people may be nice to you and only show YOU the side they want you to see… you are sheltered in many ways because you are one of those people who can help others. Your local celeb status makes some people smile in your face when they really are hateful to others. I think Kay Allen is a fine example of that.
(Name verified, but withheld)
Elected officials I have heard from tended to be less generous and requested to also stay anonymous:
“This woman is going to get us (Columbia County) sued. It is a minor miracle that has not yet happened… it was only a matter of time…”
“Austin I swear, I believe Kay thinks there is nothing wrong with what she has done, and that it is beneath her to answer the accusations that she acted out of order…”
“…in the (local) court system, a group of attorneys and other judges took it upon themselves to seek the resignation of a certain official who because of illness, was unable to do the job he was elected to do. It took a threat to family that his senility was about to be exposed by us, and his competency challenged, to convince them to push him into retirement. Looks like Mrs. Allen may be in for a similar intervention…”
And finally, this gem from a tax attorney:
“…the key to all this might be the way she filed her income taxes to reflect that additional money. If Harlem and Grovetown did not 1099 her, it blows a hole in the theory that they “knew” they were paying her as an individual, and not reimbursing her department for collection services rendered…”
Folks, I have no idea where this story is going to lead, but I will say that any person who orders a $78,000 a year public employee to go walk around in a grocery store for eight hours, the way former Deputy Tax Commissioner Dwight Johnson alleges Mrs. Allen did him, has a disposition unfit for public duty, and a great candidate for a complete psychiatric evaluation.
I guess we are about to find out if Mrs. Allen would rather be considered “the meanest old bitch this side of Appling” or “that sad old lady who is crazier than a poophouse rat.”
Who says Columbia County Republicans don’t have their issues?