The rumors and videos have been flying for years.
Now News 3 has learned the allegations against one Savannah Alderman are in the hands of the law.
Tony Thomas is already facing an ethics hearing next week for facebook posts about two Savannah women.
The Alderman has also come under fire in a series of you tube videos which detail years of alleged drug use and sexual abuse of teenage boys.
But Facebook and Youtube viewers aren’t the only ones looking at Thomas.
District Attorney Meg Heap has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look at Tony Thomas and the series of allegations against him.
“We have alerted the GBI and asked them to investigate the matter,” said Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap. “They have it now.”
A statement many folks in our area have been asking for for months, even years.
Tony Thomas now under investigation by the GBI.
“When its brought to my attention take it very seriously,” said Heap. “I’ll refer it to an agency but i am not on witch hunts.”
“He invited me over and there was a lot of cocaine, alcohol. I was absolutely wasted,” said Josh Flowers for the “Savannah Alderman” Youtube video. “17 years old you want free liquor free cocaine, what 17 wouldn’t?”
That’s from one of four videos posted on youtube called “Savannah’s Alderman”, it details claims of cocaine and marijuana use by thomas, and sexual contact with young men – some of whom were underage.
Heap says it wasn’t the video that spurred her to action.
She got information and allegations against Thomas recently, and met with several people involved.
That’s why she asked for law enforcement to take a deeper look.
“Its a checks and balance,” said Heap. “They investigate then we prosecute cases that fit the law has evidence and we can prove it.”
This is not the first time Tony Thomas’ name has come up to the DA or Law enforcement.
Heap told me that before she came into office – a letter was sent to the FBI in 2012 about claims against the Alderman.
In 2013 Heap’s office sent more allegations to the GBI.
A year later the agency told her the investigation was closed.
The GBI told News 3 that was due to “insufficient evidence.”
“I know feelings are heated but its a process, the GBI has the case, let them investigate. We take this seriously,” said Heap. “There are rights for people who are charged and rights for victims and both of those are why our system works.”
Heap wants to make sure the system and all laws are all followed.
That way any potential case won’t just be debated on Facebook, but by trained, expert investigators.
“The laws are the same for whoever is charged,” explains Heap. “And thats what we want. It shouldnt make a difference who you are. What we look at are what are the facts. What evidence do i have to prove it. what are the laws that can help or hinder me and can i prove it when i get into court. And thats what you want because it has to be fair for everyone across the board.””
“Anybody can put anything out there on Facebook. They are not bound by rules of ethics. They are not bound by procedures and laws and ethics which can be admitted into court or not. Im not dissing facebook but we are held to a higher standard as we should be. Because if i am going to convict you of a crime you want to know that i have evidence i can come into a court of law that i can prove.”
Heap adds, this case is made more difficult by the law.
The statute of limitations, the time period from when the alleged crime happened to when legally it can be prosecuted, has run out on some of thomas’s accusers.
But any abuse that happened after 2012 is “not” under any limitations.
The GBI will investigate, and then potentially bring a case back to Heap’s office. The agency will determine if there’s enough evidence to take to a grand jury – and potentially charge Thomas.
Before all that occurs Thomas faces an ethics hearing connected to comments on his own Facebook page on Wednesday.