Details Released About Alleged Jackson County Corruption

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Some of the details of a Jackson County Sheriff's investigation into corruption by road commissioner Bob Zenz were released Sunday by the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

According to the paper, the investigation finds Zenz did take financial advantage of his position.

If the allegations are true, Road Workers Union president Dewey Graves, Jr., says appropriate action needs to be taken.

"Some roadworkers have been caught and punished for taking dump trucks of gravel and fixing their homes or their friends homes," he says. "IIn that respect, anyone else should serve the same penalty."
The Citizen Patriot reports the investigation says Bob Zenz used tens of thousands of county dollars to improve his farm and to improve the roads near his home.

Road commission Chairman Karl Schmidt verifies that the investigation does report Zenz received almost $6,000 cash from certain projects in 2005 and 2006, and that Zenz changed a project to include a $17,000 roadway improvement to the area near his barn. Schmidt says he know of this project and felt it was necessary.

Schmidt is upset that the report was leaked before he, Zenz and road commissioner Elwin Johnson had time to read over it.

"My feelings are they're still allegations," he says. "The way things have gone, everyone's just assuming he's guilty because we haven't even had a chance to respond."

Schmidt says he's never seen anything corrupt in his office.

"Not that i'm aware of, seriously. And until we know the allegations, I think it wouldn't be useful for me to comment."

The situation is now in the hands of the Jackson County commissioners, who are responsible for appointing-- and removing-- the road commission board.

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