The state has forbid Atlanta's Midtown Alliance organization from using court probation laborers. The sanction comes after FOX 5 uncovered that the organization assigned probationers to clear brush on a private property lot.
FOX 5's Morse Diggs showed a crew from that program spent three days clearing a private lot in Midtown Atlanta in work that authorized by Wayne Mock of Midtown Alliance.
The Department of Corrections, which oversees the program, terminated the Midtown Alliance's involvement.
Mock, the public safety chief for the Midtown Alliance, said he assigned the community service workers for public safety. He said that the trees had gotten too high at the lot, obstructing police to see around the corner.
"We felt this was a major public safety issue that we probably could save lives and property by going in and working," Mock said.
Kevin Green, the president of the Midtown Alliance, defended the decision.
"We didn't make a distinction between public and private property. We made a distinction in terms of is the work we are doing a service to the community -- and the answer to that last week was yes and the answer to that today is yes," Green said.
Mock said it was never specified that the community service laborers couldn't be used on private property.
"Well, I think we went to training, you know, six or seven years in a row and we used the program and never mentioned in that, we would never do it to gain anything from it. We did it for public safety," Mock said.
William Perry of the public policy watchdog group Common Cause Georgia, said that "even those groups that do good work need to follow the rules."
The Midtown Alliance expects to be reinstated into the program, pending a judge's decision. The group signed an agreement on Friday with the state that specifically said that they would not use community service workers on private land.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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