In his original letter, Samuel M. Hay III spoke of landscaping work being done at houses in the Walker's Bend subdivision using government funds, but, according to city and county officials, neither local government has authorized any spending of money for such landscaping.
County Manager John Middleton said the Newton County Board of Commissioners has allocated $500,000 in SPLOST funding for the New Leaf Center, a multi-use building, which will be located in Walker's Bend, but said that money will not pay for any landscaping of houses.
"No other funds have been discussed or appropriated by the BOC for any other use or landscaping projects in Walkers Bend. No motion has ever been made, seconded or voted on to fund landscaping projects in Walkers Bend," he said in an email Tuesday.
This letter is a retraction of the comments noted in a letter published in The Covington News last week. I first must offer my apologies to the parties named in my letter regarding the project at Walker's Bend.
Dear Editor: Only twice in my life have I taken sources at face value, and not done my own research. This was one of them. The other was an attorney who, in passing, as I was going into the court room to attempt to stop a local bond validation, told me I should use a certain statute in my case, which I did. Turns out it had been repealed and angered the court. I certainly got my just dessert on that one.
This Walker's Bend issue has been one of controversy since its inception. I am a lightning rod for this type of government expenditures and many people call on me to try and expose the waste and in some cases, alleged corruption and cronyism at times involved in these deals.
Without having the time to fully continue to investigate the details of this issue, and the validity of the source, prior to the necessity to print a full retraction I hereby give all parties a free pass on this one and ask them to accept my sincere apologies for any misinformation which may have been a part of the letter. I detest misinformation as much as anyone.
Samuel M. Hay, III