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Challenge to Jones’ candidacy to be heard Friday

POSTED: March 31, 2014 9:16 p.m.

The challenge to Effingham County 2nd District Commissioner Vera Jones’ candidacy will be heard Friday at 9 a.m. at the Effingham County administrative complex.

A challenge was filed against Jones’ re-election bid last month, accusing her of withholding money that should have been refunded to the county. Filed by Andrew Daniel Brantley and Jocelyn Brantley of Guyton, it claims Jones has not returned $739,844 erroneously paid to her by the county.

In an earlier story on the challenge, Jones responded to the Herald, stating the money was always due her and her company.

“We are not holding taxpayer money,” she said. “They repaid DM Jones its money. We were the lender.”

According to the challenge and a Web site also calling for Jones to return the money, Jones and her husband’s construction company “personally provided several writings to the Effingham County Finance Department and Public Works Department” that falsely claimed the county owed her company $739,844.

The challenge further states the payment was not approved the commissioners, either in an open meeting or in executive session. Under state law, commissioners must vote in open session. The Brantleys’ challenge said Jones knew of the commissioners’ refusal to authorize the payment.

Commissioners learned of the check issuance within days and notified Jones that the check was in error, according to the challenge. The Brantleys also state that Jones refused to return the money and her continued holding of the money is at the “detriment of the taxpayers and citizens of Effingham County.”

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