Conyers mayor candidate facing criminal charges

CONYERS - Conyers business woman and mayoral candidate Kathy Harvey has a trial date later this month in Newton County on charges of forgery and theft by conversion.

Harvey is running against incumbent Conyers Mayor Randy Mills in this year's municipal elections. Mills is seeking a fourth term as mayor.

According to court documents obtained by the Citizen, Harvey is alleged to have cashed an insurance check for $6,060.44 received as payment to a business doing carpeting work in her Newton County home on July 21, 2004.

A warrant was issued for Harvey's arrest two months later. Court papers indicated Harvey entered a not guilty plea in court on Jan. 11, 2006. However, after that Newton County authorities could not locate her. The case was moved to the court's dead docket on July 28, 2007.

Since then, authorities have located Harvey and her case has been reactivated and placed on the trial calendar in Newton County for Oct. 26, according to court records.

The criminal case against her is only part of the troubles Harvey has faced in recent years. In 2005, her house in the Pebble Brooke subdivision was foreclosed on. Also, federal court documents show Harvey has filed for bankruptcy protection six times - the first in 1986 and most recently in 2005.

When reached for comment Friday, Harvey declined to go into details on the criminal case.

"Like many of my neighbors and friends, I have not led a perfect life. I have made mistakes, rectified them and moved on," she said.

Harvey added her foreclosure and bankruptcy issues would not affect her ability to govern as mayor. She noted that Georgia Education Secretary Kathy Cox is still performing her functions in office after she and her husband filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008.

"That doesn't take away from her ability to run a budget. She's filed for bankruptcy and she's in public office now," Harvey said. "Nobody has any control over how the economy is going to go and that does not take away from our talents and our gifts. It's just a fact that our past administration put us in this place and affected small businesses."

She also said the part-time mayor position does not have total control over the city's $18.1 million budget but it is handled by the city manager and finance director. Harvey said a personal bankruptcy "does not take away from your capacity or your talent just because you were part of the downturn in the economy."