A Statesboro businessman recently pleaded guilty to charges of jury tampering related to a civil case originally filed in 2007.
T. Holmes Ramsey Jr. entered a guilty plea filed under the Georgia First Offender Act regarding three felony counts of criminal attempt to commit embracery stemming from an October 2014 mistrial of a case filed seven years prior, according to documents from the Bulloch County Clerk of Courts office.
Ramsey’s plea was filed Feb. 1. However, a judge has not yet accepted the plea nor imposed a sentence. A date for sentencing has not been set.
In this case, Ramsey was represented by Statesboro attorney Lovett Bennett Jr., who was not immediately available for comment Friday.
The charges were brought after Bulloch County Superior Court Judge Gates Peed declared a mistrial in October 2014 during the first part of a trial for a civil case filed in August 2007 by Dabbs-Williams General Contractors LLC against Tillman Park LLC and Ramsey.
In the suit, Dabbs-Williams claimed that Ramsey did not keep a verbal agreement to pay for extra work done on a project that went beyond the conditions of a contract.
At the time, Peed did not specify his reasons for declaring a mistrial, stating only that alleged jury tampering was under investigation. Cathy Sapp, who was the special agent-in-charge of the Statesboro Region 5 Georgia Bureau of Investigation office at the time, confirmed then that the GBI was investigating the case.
Neither Matt McCoy, a Savannah attorney representing Ramsey at the time, nor Dan Snipes, a Statesboro attorney representing Dabbs-Williams at the time, would comment on the case then.
“All we were told in court was that there is evidence of jury tampering,” and that was the reason for the mistrial, McCoy said.
About the suit
According to the original civil suit, Dabbs-Williams began work on Tillman Park, a condominium development on Tillman Road, in 2005. The suit claimed that Dabbs-Williams and Ramsey initially agreed that the contractor would be paid on a “cost-plus” basis, with Dabbs-Williams’ construction services fee being 8 percent of costs incurred for labor, materials and other expenses.
A contract dated May 16, 2006, stated the same, but inserted a maximum contract price of $6,761,000. That contract did not include work performed beyond the conditions outlined by the contract, according to the suit.
The suit stated that Ramsey began to request changes to units, such as the addition of fireplaces, changes in flooring and so forth, “beyond the scope of work” in the contract. It alleged that Ramsey verbally assured Dabbs-Williams that the contractor would be compensated for the changes and additions, although the contract limits were exhausted.
However, the suit alleged that Ramsey failed to honor those oral agreements and that the company was not paid for the additional work.
The court document accused Ramsey of breach of contract and listed the costs of the additional work as $1,165,325 plus interest.
A claim of lien against the Tillman Park project was filed by Dabbs-Williams in June 2007. According to the suit, Dabbs-Williams requested a trial by jury.
The current status of the original suit is not clear.
While Ramsey’s guilty plea via the Georgia First Offender Act has yet to be accepted by a judge, his plea agreement filed Feb. 1 includes a recommendation by the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, two and a half years of probation, a $1,000 fine plus surcharges, and early termination after a year if all terms are completed for the first charge; the same for the second charge to run concurrent; and for the third charge, the same terms, but with a reduced $500 fine.
If the court rejects his plea, Ramsey may rescind the plea and go back before the court, according to the agreement.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.