When the Metro Spirit ran a cover story last week announcing that former Deputy Tax Commissioner Dwight Johnson was preparing to run for tax commissioner now that Kay Allen has resigned, it drew a lot of mixed reactions.
Many readers were cheering Johnson on, saying he is the best person for the job.
However, some of his former staff had a very different opinion.
The Metro Spirit received a number of calls from current and former employees of the tax commissioner’s office saying that they will support any candidate who runs against Johnson.
“I will not work for that man,” said one employee, who did not wish to provide her name.
And if Johnson happens to win, she insisted that she would immediately quit.
The reason? Some of Johnson’s former colleagues allege that he was the one who was verbally abusive in the office. Not former Tax Commissioner Kay Allen.
“Mrs. Allen is the kindest lady you’ll ever meet,” one employee said. “What happened to her is a real shame.”
A few of the employees said that Allen was actually trying to help Johnson become the next tax commissioner before he started being hateful towards her. She had no other choice than to fire him, they said.
So, who do you believe? Dwight Johnson or Kay Allen?
Basically, it is coming down to a he-said, she-said situation.
And, of course, Allen isn’t talking to anyone right now, so that gives Johnson the advantage. Also, the allegations against Allen that she improperly profited from contracts to collect taxes for Harlem and Grovetown doesn’t help her case.
But one can’t help but reflect back on the alleged dispute between Columbia County Tag Office Clerk Diane Pittman Chiera and Johnson.
In January, Chiera filed an incident report with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office claiming that Johnson entered the tag office, threatened her job and made a “slashing motion to his throat” after the threat.
However, upon reviewing the surveillance video inside the tag office, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office officially closed the case, stating there was no visual proof of Johnson making any threatening motions.
But it’s curious.
Either some of the employees of the tax commissioner’s office really can’t stand Johnson or they have seen a side of Johnson that the rest of Columbia County residents haven’t.
In January, Chiera told deputies that Johnson said he knew the employees were writing statements about him to authorities and he reminded her that there was a good chance he would be over the tax commissioner’s office soon.
When Chiera asked Johnson what he meant by his statement, she told deputies that Johnson allegedly replied, “She is gone.”
Chiera stated that Johnson was referring to Allen as the tax commissioner, adding that Johnson then told her that when he got back into the office, everyone who wrote statements about him were also “gone.”
Do these statements against Johnson really exist?
It’s not the first time the Insider has heard rumors about some of Johnson’s former coworkers filing complaints about him. But there is no trace of any such complaints in Johnson’s personnel file.
In fact, Johnson’s personnel file is about as exciting as reading a driver’s manual from Columbia County’s Motor Vehicle Division.
The only information that is even remotely interesting is a write up that Kay Allen did regarding Johnson’s handling of a bank bag that allegedly contained $55 that never made it the Evans Government Center from the Appling office in July.
That missing bank bag is the official reason behind Allen’s firing of Johnson.
In that write up, Allen states that she was on vacation from July 3-5, 2013, and Johnson was left in charge. When she returned on July 10, she found Dwight and another employee inside the vault.
“Dwight blurted out that we have missing money ($55) along with the deposit bag,” Allen wrote, adding that the other employee suggested that Johnson go look in his car for the missing bag. Later that day, Johnson allegedly told Allen that he had searched his car and did not find the missing bank bag.
A few days later, Allen called someone at Georgia Bank & Trust and requested that they pull the videotape of Johnson’s visit to the bank.
“Within a couple of days, I was sent an e-mail with the pictures attached,” Allen writes. “To my GREAT surprise, Dwight had someone else with him.”
It was one of the department’s hourly employees in the bank with Johnson. This particular employee was also going through some health issues at the time.
The pictures allegedly showed Johnson leaving the lobby of the bank to answer his phone.
“Dwight stayed outside the entire transaction time,” Allen wrote, adding that Johnson had initially told her that he was the one who gave the bank bags to the teller.
Allen wrote that she took several days to think about the situation to decide the best way to handle it.
But Johnson apparently noticed a change in Allen’s attitude toward him.
“On Monday, July 22, 2013, Dwight confronted me concerning my recent attitude and ‘coolness’ toward him,” Allen wrote. “We went into the conference room, located adjacent to my office, and I pulled out the two pictures that I had printed from the many that were sent to me from Georgia Bank & Trust.”
According to Allen’s report, the following is the alleged conversation between Johnson and Allen:
“Who is that?” Johnson asked, looking at the photos.
“Look at it!” Allen demanded.
“Where is it?” Johnson asked.
“Look at it!” Allen repeated.
“Is that me?” Johnson asked.
Allen confirmed that it was and asked “why in the world” would Johnson take one of the hourly employees with him to the bank.
“Security,” Johnson replied.
“Call a deputy if you need security,” Allen said. “Why did you feel the need to take an hourly employee from his workstation when we are super busy especially after a holiday.”
Allen then pointed out that this particular employee is “not a supervisor” and he is “sick.” “I knew better than to take a female,” Johnson answered, according to Allen’s report.
The conversation included in the report ends with Allen asking Johnson, “Someone who can go on a cruise by himself can’t go to the bank alone?”
Obviously, the honeymoon was over between these two county employees. They were at war.
In this report, Allen writes that she and Johnson discussed the situation for more than 30 minutes before she got sick of his excuses.
“When I felt that the reasons he gave were very poor ones, I ended the conversation and told him that I was going to ‘write him up.’” Allen wrote. “He objected to the idea.”
By October, Allen had fired Johnson.
Little did Allen know that the firing of Johnson would result in him turning to the FBI with allegations against her.
Now, she’s without a job, her husband, Columbia County Commissioner Charles Allen, was pressured to resign and Johnson wants to take her place as tax commissioner.
But the question that remains is, who is the real villain here? Allen or Johnson?
Or maybe both?