News broke Friday that prominent local attorney Harold Knowles was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Georgia. The indictment mentioned Knowles’ Tallahassee Law firm and Pinnacle/CSG, a Florida-based construction company partly owned by Knowles.
Research by Tallahassee Reports has found that both entities addressed in the indictment have financial relationships with the City of Tallahassee and Leon County government.
The indictment of Knowles lists charges of conspiracy to pay a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of unlawful activity and paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds.
A report by the The Telegraph in Macon Georgia states that Knowles’ law firm was used as a “middleman” to pass a bribe of $100,000 to an elected official.
The report also detailed how Knowles, toward the end of 2012, approached the Bibb County School Superintendent, Romain Dallemand, about possible construction projects between Pinnacle and the school district. Knowles offered the superintendent stock in Pinnacle if he was able to secure future construction contracts for the company with the school district.
Local Government Business Connections
Records show that in 2010 Pinnacle Construction Group was awarded a $1.5 million contract by the City of Tallahassee for the rehabilitation of Chelsea Apartments, located at 1602 Stuckey Avenue.
In addition, the Pinnacle Construction Group was a controversial pick as a subcontractor for a $1.4 million airport fence job after John Marks was elected mayor of Tallahassee.
Marks was part of the Knowles law firm before he was elected mayor and maintained a controversial relationship with Knowles for a number of years after he was elected.
WCTV reporter Andy Alcock published a report that documented the controversy over the fence project. The report states that the Pinnacle Construction Group was chosen to build a fence around the Tallahassee airport even though the company had no experience in such work.
Also, a search of online checkbooks for Leon County Government and the City of Tallahassee show that the Knowles and Randolph law firm is currently being paid by both government entities.
Over the last 3 years the City of Tallahassee’s legal department has paid the Knowles & Randolph law firm approximately $75,000 for legal services billed through approximately 70 different invoices.
Records show that Knowles & Randolph has billed the Leon County Housing Finance Authority approximately $8,000 in 2017. Also, Knowles & Randolph is listed as the Board Attorney for the Leon County Code Enforcement Board.
Knowles is also a director of the Big Bend Minority Chamber which is part of the governance structure that will play a role in deciding how Blueprint tax dollars are spent.