Originally published March 20, 2009.
A Fulton County District Attorney’s office internal investigation into one of its employees who also worked part time for the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office has found no “inappropriate or illegal” activity.
Questions were raised a month ago about the employment of Aayesha Owens Reese after a Columbus payroll audit showed she was living in Lithonia, Ga., and working for the Junior Marshal Program in Muscogee County.
Reese is the daughter of Municipal County Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop and stepdaughter of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop. The middle school mentoring program that she worked for in Columbus was funded in large part from federal earmark grants secured by Bishop, a Democrat who is in his ninth term representing southwest Georgia.
“We determined there was no conflict of work hours between our two agencies,” said Yvette Brown, director of public affairs for District Attorney Paul Howard’s office. “Furthermore, our investigation concluded Ms. Reese did not participate in any inappropriate or illegal activities.”
There is also a Georgia Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office. It is not a criminal investigation, but a “finding of facts,” said Rodney Wall, GBI special agent in charge of the Columbus office.
The inquiry is ongoing and there is no timetable for its completion, Wall said Thursday morning.
The GBI is looking into whether two family members of Sanford Bishop — who secured more than $136,000 in federal grants to fund the program — actually worked there.
A city of Columbus payroll audit last month put Marshal Greg Countryman’s program under scrutiny.
Reese and her husband, Stephen M. Reese, have worked in the Junior Marshal Program within the past two years while living in Lithonia.
Stephen Reese worked for the program as an assistant from November 2007 until July 2008. He was paid $7,275 before taxes during a seven-month period. The money was direct-deposited into a Columbus Bank and Trust Co. account in the name of Vivian Creighton Bishop, his mother-in-law, Bishop’s wife and the elected Municipal Court Clerk.
A canceled check from Creighton Bishop’s CB&T account is on file in the city’s human resources department, city records show. It was used to start the direct deposit.
Aayesha Reese was paid a gross salary of $7,575 between Oct. 3, 2007, and Feb. 20, 2008. Her job title was listed in city records as administrative assistant, Junior Marshal program.