Justice Department Wants Refund From Sheriff Who Bought a Dodge Charger Hellcat

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
justice department wants refund from sheriff who bought a dodge charger hellcat

The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding that Georgia Sheriff Butch Conway reimburse the government for his procurement of a 707-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat, which it does not believe falls under the umbrella of reasonable purchases for a police department.

However, the DOJ isn’t questioning whether the department could make use of such a vehicle, as the federal government already approved its purchase. It just isn’t sure that Conway is being responsible with it, since it sounds like the Gwinnett Country Sheriff may be using it as his daily driver.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Conway’s office purchased the black-on-black Hellcat in April using $69,258 that had been previously approved by the DOJ’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section as part of its “equitable sharing program.” The program distributes assets seized during enforcement efforts to state and local agencies hoping to make purchases to “support their missions.”

It’s like a legal version of plundering, where the treasures taken were likely gained through illicit means, anyway.

However, there are concerns that the Sheriff hasn’t used those funds appropriately. The DOJ even issued a letter stating that the sheriff’s office is not eligible to request or receive any more asset forfeiture funds until the money is reimbursed — giving him until July 31st.

The Hellcat’s purchasing application claimed the vehicle would take part in Gwinnett’s Beat the Heat program, an initiative that uses drag races in controlled environments to inform drivers about the dangers of distracted driving and illegal street racing and encourage them to keep it on the strip. However, the Sheriff’s office said that, in addition to driving the car to and from work, Conway uses it “when he participates in field operations, covert and otherwise, with our deputies.”

Both are issues the DOJ takes umbrage with.

“Sheriff Conway maintains that this vehicle is an appropriate purchase, especially for an agency with a $92 million budget and the opportunity this vehicle provides in making our roadways safer,” said the office’s spokeswoman, Deputy Shannon Volkodav.

William Perry, the executive director of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, called the office’s explanations of the Hellcat’s use “bullfeathers.” He claimed all money from seized assets should be “treated the same way as a dollar coming out of a taxpayer’s pocket.”

“In my eyes,” Perry said, “the only way Butch Conway can save face is if he writes a personal check for that vehicle and apologizes to the taxpayers of Gwinnett County.”

[Image: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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  • Dangit56 Dangit56 on Jul 21, 2018

    It takes a special (older) genius to quote The Firesign Theatre. Obviously, you’re “ruthless”! No disrespect to the many honest LEOs, but the quoted statement is more true than ever, especially if you’re of any minority community. Our local 137 fiefdoms (I meant to say “municipalities”) in Allegheny County, most hire ONLY part-time officers. A recent incident involved an officer shooting in which the officer involved was in the $11-13/hour range. How can we expect the judgement and professionalism at that level? Even atheists pray given the current State of the Nation.

    • See 3 previous
    • Brn Brn on Jul 22, 2018

      el scotto, We said the same thing, but with different verbiage. I guess I also appreciate the assist.

  • Civicjohn Civicjohn on Jul 22, 2018

    Anybody with the brain of an amoeba should agree that this forfeiture bulls**t is a pure moneymaker for police. They have divisions in Houston, Phoenix, etc. who patrol the interstates just looking for what they deem as a “profile” vehicle, which changes all the time and the cartels know it. I used to design recording studios, and a guy who worked for me said I needed to come to Laredo and go down and visit some of the studios just across the border, so what the heck. There is a bunch of music that never gets past Houston, and there’s like 15-20 studios within 10 miles of the border, it really changed my mindset, I felt extremely comfortable. So we went to Houston because one of the known producers in town wanted a digital recorder. We go visit, I’d had the machine shipped down from my company for him to test, so we meet at his studio, he says he wants it, so I need payment. Ok, so one of his staff produced a handgun and we got paid $20k in $20 bills, all good, but we both figured we would get jacked and they would take the money back. We went to the best hotel in Houston so we could put the money in our room safes, turned out we miscounted and he still owed us $1k. It was FedExed the next day, so after that, I got rid of as many stereotypes as I could, and I invite everyone to do the same! There is way too much darn stuff confiscated by The Man before the wheels of justice have completed turning. I live in TN and all of the meth labs needed to go away, but there goes the trailer, the pickup, freaking everything. So when they get out, what in the hell are they going to do to make any money? Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but if the sheriff got the money from people who were convicted, go out and impress some kids with a burnout!

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.