ATLANTA – A Gwinnett County grand jury agreed to let former Commission Chairman Charles Bannister resign in lieu of being indicted, according to a report released Tuesday.
“Bannister asked the Grand Jury not to indict him and to allow him to resign effective immediately,” the grand jury wrote in its report. “After a consideration of the evidence in the case, the proposed charge, and in the interest of limiting costs to taxpayers and expediting a resolution of this matter, the Grand Jury decided that it was in the best interest of the citizens of Gwinnett County to allow Bannister to resign.”
Bannister resigned earlier this month amid the grand jury investigation into a number of county land deals. In resigning, Bannister cited his health and his family’s well-being.
The report also noted: “The Grand Jury weighed the possible outcomes. If we had returned an indictment then removal from office would have depended upon the outcome of the criminal trial. The Grand Jury decided that assured, permanent removal from office was the appropriate solution to one of the problems we uncovered in our investigation.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner Kevin Kennerly was indicted last week on an allegation he accepted a bribe from a developer in return for a favorable deal. Kennerly has thus far declined calls to resign according to published reports.
A March 15 special election has been set to replace Banniser.