The insurance agency owned by Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley is under investigation on allegations of misusing insurance premiums.
After customers complained to Milledgeville police and the state insurance commission, Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord asked state investigators to step in Dec. 5, said Special Agent in Charge Eve Rodgers of the GBI’s Milledgeville office.
“We’re conducting the investigation jointly with the Georgia state insurance commission,” she said.
It’s too early to tell how long the investigation into Wilkinson Insurance may take, Rodgers said.
Glenn Allen, spokesman for Commissioner of Insurance Ralph Hudgens’ office, said the insurance commission is the lead agency on the investigation, with the GBI assisting.
“We initiated our investigation off of a single complaint that came into us back in early November,” Allen said.
State insurance investigators visited the Wilkinson Insurance office and interviewed several employees at that time, he said. The investigation continues, and the GBI recently joined in, Allen said.
Swicord said he called the GBI based on one report, received Dec. 2.
“There’s no written rule for that, but I thought it would be a conflict of interest with him being the mayor of Milledgeville,” he said.
That report came from the owner of a Gordon trucking company. The man said he bought insurance through Bentley in April but soon began getting notices that he didn’t have workman’s compensation coverage. That was supposed to be part of the insurance he got for $8,000, according to the report.
The man said a Wilkinson Insurance employee told him a refund was impossible “because the account which the payment would come from has been cleared out due to a medical emergency that Bentley experienced.”
The man couldn’t operate his trucking business without the insurance, the report stated.
No comment was forthcoming from Wilkinson Insurance’s office Monday. Bentley’s office at Milledgeville City Hall said the mayor has been out on medical leave for some time.
“Although Richard Bentley is the mayor of Milledgeville, all these allegations stem from his employment with Wilkinson Insurance and are unrelated to his role as mayor,” Rodgers said.
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