DALTON, Ga. — An audit of the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership found "inconsistencies" that led the organization's board to unanimously "terminate the employment" of executive director Greg Dent in November, according to board Chairman Brittany Pittman.
And now Dent faces a felony charge of theft by taking following an embezzlement investigation, according to a press release from the Dalton Police Department.
Dent, 53, of Dalton, was charged Thursday by the police department.
"So far, the investigation has found that Mr. Dent misappropriated more than $80,000 from the organization for his personal use over a period of three years," according to the press release.
According to a police department incident report, two detectives met on Dec. 4 with Pittman and with William Jourdain, an attorney and member of the Healthcare Partnership board, "in reference to the embezzlement of funds" from the organization.
"Detectives determined that Dent began to use funds from the Healthcare Partnership in 2017, continuing through 2019 to the time of his firing," the press release said.
The press release said Dent "used the stolen funds for personal use not related to the business including travel, meals, clothing and other personal expenses."
The investigation is ongoing. Dent was still in the Whitfield County Jail Friday afternoon.
"Both before and throughout this process, the (Partnership) board of directors continued to provide oversight and direction of the numerous programs that support our community," Pittman said in a statement. "Although the board cannot further comment during this ongoing investigation regarding the felony charges against Mr. Dent, the community can rest assured that the work of the Partnership continues uninterrupted."
Dalton Board of Education Chairman Matt Evans, Whitfield County Schools Superintendent Judy Gilreath and state Sen. Chuck Payne — all members of the Healthcare Partnership board — referred questions to Pittman. Carpet and Rug Institute President Joe Yarbrough said board members had been advised by their attorney to refer all questions to Pittman.
Dent had served as executive director of the Healthcare Partnership since 2014 and before that spent nine years as president and CEO of Community Health Works in Macon. Both groups are nonprofit agencies aimed at increasing access to health care and improving the health of the members of their community.
Dent was elected to the Crawford County Board of Commissioners in 1996 and served eight years on the board, including three as chairman. He ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 1 seat on the Dalton City Council in 2015.
Dent is a graduate of Georgia College and State University, where he received a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting. He worked for several years in accounting and financial management.