CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) —Washington County commissioners selected two companies today as backup FEMA consultants. The county’s current firm, Wheeler Management Consultants, is being investigated by the FBI.
Washington County commissioners selected True North and Metric Consulting firms Thursday as possible back-ups on unfinished FEMA projects.
They felt the move was necessary in case the county’s normal firm, Wheeler Management Consultants is indicted by the federal government.
The FBI is investigating Wheeler for common law negligence. Residents also claim there’s an inappropriate relationship between Wheeler and the county.
Commissioner Chair Tray Hawkins’ father works for Wheeler.
“That bid package should have never been accepted from Wheeler with those intentions, and it was,” said Washington County resident Benita Crittendon.
Joshua Peel of North Florida Contracting and Testing filed a lawsuit against the county on September 5th.
Wheeler owner, Ben Maddox, addressed the problem during a workshop meeting on Monday, September 18th.
“You know, let’s talk about that elephant in the room. Everybody knows there’s an FBI investigation going on with Wheeler and some of the people involved,” said Maddox.
Commissioners added the two backup firms but voted 3-to-2 to stay with Wheeler. The decision frustrated residents.
“It’s not good for this community. So, there should be some answers and it really all falls on the County Commissioners and the County Administrator,” said Washington County resident James Brooks.
Hawkins’ attorney advised him not to make any comments about the case.
“That’s the way the vote went,” said Hawkins.
“We just want to get the information out there, let the public know what’s going on,” said Brooks.
We requested copies of the federal subpoenas served on the county. We have not received those records.