By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
City Commissioner Chuck Cannon, whose tenure on the commission was punctuated
by arrests stemming from a seemingly tumultuous personal life, resigned from
the commission in January, but he’s still making news: He was booked Friday at the Dade County Jail
pursuant to an arrest warrant from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for
Duvall of the Dade County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the city’s former
parks and recreation commissioner turned himself in on March 15 and bonded out
immediately on a $3,000 bail set by Magistrate Joel McCormick.
Duvall said the
fraud charge stemmed from a claim Cannon filed with Alfa Insurance attesting that
his truck had been damaged in a hit-and-run incident at a Pilot Truck Stop on
Aug. 29, 2012. The GBI investigation showed that Cannon’s son had actually
wrecked the truck at another location, Duvall read from the warrant.
Duvall said he
didn’t know if the GBI would routinely investigate an insurance claim by a city
commissioner, but that in cases where an investigation of a city official was
called for, the state agency rather than the sheriff’s department or city
police would handle the matter to avoid conflicts of interest.
The GBI’s Greg
Ramey, reached by telephone on Monday, would not comment on Alfa’s complaint
against Cannon, or say whether this matter did or did not figure in any larger
GBI investigation in Dade County, but confirmed that the purported hit-and-run
had been looked into after qualms expressed by the insurance company. “At some
point it was determined they felt like it was a fraudulent claim,” said
District Attorney Len Gregor of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, also
reached by phone on Monday, said that insurance fraud of the kind charged is a
felony offense punishable, as recommended by the applicable statute, by two to
10 years’ jail time, a fee of not more than $10,000, or both.
there was no chance Cannon’s case would go to trial when Dade Superior holds
its upcoming April session. “We don’t even have the warrant yet,” he said. “If
this thing is going all the way to trial, it would have to wait until the
that defendants often opt for plea arrangements rather than waiting for their
day in court.
previous brushes with the law have been domestic: In August 2011 he was charged
with simple battery after a fistfight with a friend; immediately after that,
Cannon’s wife took out a restraining order against him, saying he’d hit her;
and he was arrested the following December on a sexual battery charge in
connection with his friend’s wife after a GBI investigation into the original
were mitigated in a subsequent grand jury session, and in August 2012 Cannon
pled guilty to simple battery and obstruction of officers and was sentenced to
a fine of $1,050 and 12 months’ probation. Additionally, he was forbidden to
have further contact with his friend or the friend’s wife.
and his own wife divorced.
It was in
connection with that divorce that Cannon in January announced he was quitting
his place on the city commission. In his newfound bachelorhood he was leaving
Dade County for a new life on the Tennessee side of the border, he told the
Sentinel in January.
City Commission just last week swore in Terry Powell to take Cannon’s unexpired
term pending regular city elections this fall.